With all due respect and a measure of sympathy for those people who suffer from nut allergies, I can’t imagine life without nuts. I was contemplating this the other day as I chowed down on a lovely piece of carrot cake with cream cheese icing in the IKEA cafeteria. The nuts in their cake were ground a little finer that my personal preference but we all have different tastes. Part of the fun of eating nuts is the satisfying crunch and workout our teeth get when consuming anything with nuts. And, as an extra bonus, there’s the protein value. Nuts make everything last longer because of the extra chewing required—kinda forces us to eat slower and savour the experience. Then, you get to spend lots of time afterward picking the pieces out of your teeth and enjoying them all over again.
I don’t think a single day passes that I don’t consume nuts. A dish of almonds is a constant fixture on my kitchen counter for a protein hit and mindless nibbling throughout the day. I pour ‘almond milk’ on my cereal every morning and I simply can’t imagine sipping a Timmie’s steeped tea without a bite of their peanut butter cookie melting in my mouth. I purchase giant bags of pecans from Costco for various baking projects including the morning breakfast muffins I make for my honey (it’s the only way I can sidetrack him from eating packaged breakfast/candy bars).
Eating pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds makes me feel virtuous. We’ll just overlook the fact they’re usually unhealthily oiled and salted. My honey always has a large jar of Costco’s cashews on the table beside his LaZboy for those all-too-frequent stressful moments when the Jays or Leafs are losing—which is usually.
So, a day without nuts would seriously impede my life. Just imagine:
- Dairy Queen’s Peanut Buster without the peanuts. It would be a bust.
- Carrot cake without walnuts is just a boring vegetable.
- Brownies without walnuts don’t even deserve to be called brownies.
- Tin roof sundae without Spanish redskin peanuts would just be a boring chocolate sundae.
- Peanut, almond and cashew butter would be non-existent.
- Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Hello Dolly Bars, Pecan Squares, Fruit and Nut Cake, mixed nuts in a bowl with a cracker.
- What would Charles Schultz have named his famous cartoon strip? Beans?
I could probably survive a trip to Five Guys for a burger and their amazing fries even if they didn’t have a bin of free peanuts, but it just wouldn’t be the same. Their boiled, salted peanuts are absolutely THE BEST and someone else gets to clean up the mess. Any kind of ice-cream with nuts is beyond nirvana. Being able to crunch those big chunks of walnuts in Maple Walnut ice cream or the sugared pecans in Butter Pecan or Pralines n’Cream makes it last twice as long which is twice as decadent.
World War II might even have taken a different direction if General Anthony Clement McAuliffe hadn’t uttered that famous word “Nuts” when challenged by German soldiers wearing allied uniforms in Bastogne during the Battle Of The Bulge. “Fooey” just wouldn’t have had the same cachet. Donald Trump’s already limited vocabulary would be seriously challenged if he couldn’t refer to his each of his many adversaries as a “nut job”.
Cashews are a gift from the gods. Pecans are nature’s gift to baking. Almonds are unbeatable. Peanuts help the world go round and make sports, movies, chocolate bars and beer an infinitely more enjoyable experience. Nuts are a protein hit when we’re feeling low. They’re portable, not messy (unless still in the shell), easy to eat and relatively inexpensive to consume. As I reach for a handful of some kind of nut every day of my life, I feel sorry for those people with nut allergies. And I find myself wondering why nut allergies are so prevalent today. When boomers were growing up in the 50s and 60s we never ever knew a single soul with a nut allergy. School lunches were wall-to-wall peanut butter and jam sandwiches and peanut butter cookies. What happened in our food chain to cause this crisis? I blame Monsanto for all our food-related problems.
If it weren’t for nuts, what would we have to chew on? Raw broccoli? Tough red meat? Nothing quite does the job like nuts. Except when the person sitting behind you in the movies is chewing them too loudly. But, then again, I do the same thing when I’m chewing popcorn in the movies, so I’ll have to overlook that one. I have a divine recipe for butter tart squares that calls for a couple of cups of raisins that I made infinitely better by substituting pecans. Much healthier, wouldn’t you agree? Salads, baking, snacks—just about everything benefits from the addition of nuts. I’m so thankful I was born a baby boomer and avoided that nut allergy plague. Can’t imagine life without them.
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