When I was about 14 years old, my mom was away for a couple of months on a trip, and my dad called from the office and said he had a couple of guests coming over for cocktails and dinner. When they got to the house, I had arranged for some pistachio nuts in a bowl to be served with cocktails (scotch, gin, whatever). But what I vividly recall from that evening was that one of the guests (supposedly a big-wig of some sort) popped several unshelled pistachio nuts into his mouth and he started crunching through the tough hard shells. I think he was so embarrassed by his â€œduhhâ€ mistake that he just kept on chewing and swallowed all of the shells chased with a lot of scotch!!! Geez, I hope the stomach acids dissolved those shards or he would have had a nasty plumbing job the next day! I quickly opened a few pistachio nuts and discarded the shells in the provided receptacle to indicate how it was meant to be eaten, rather than being myself and saying something totally tactless like “hello?!? feeling like a squirrel, are we?” Lesson learned that evening? Know your nuts and know how to eat themâ€¦
We are so used to seeing shelled vacuum sealed or canned walnuts and almonds that one forgets what they looked like in a more natural state. Around the holidays, it is nice to have a bowl of freshly harvested assorted nuts on the living room coffee table. Leave a nice nutcracker and a bowl for the shells and watch as guests root around the bowl, inspect the nuts, try to crack them open without everything disintegrating or making too big of a messâ€¦also remember to watch their faces as they apply pressure to the nutcracker and anticipate that first loud crack! In this selection from a large bag of Diamond brand nuts, there is the large walnut with two whole meats in it, the artificially colored pecans, the bizarre and difficult to open Brazil Nuts, the delicious hazelnuts or filberts and the easy to extract almonds. Because many nuts have such high fat content, they can turn rancid rather quickly so donâ€™t leave the bowl out for more than a month or soâ€¦ When fresh, the nuts are flavorful and delicious; if past their prime, rancid, bitter and unpalatable.