Thursday, January 7, 2016

On walnuts

Most food is background noise to us.  We have our favorites - the foods that get us excited, that remind us of previous moments, that make our bellies full and happy (oh hello there pan-fried dumplings!).  Then there are the foods that we hate - that we have become trained to avoid for whatever reason - distaste, disgust, allergies, sensitivities, etc (I am, unfortunately, looking at you olives, garlic, and onions!). We tend to focus on our friends and enemies of the food world, while our acquaintances fade away, garnering little attention from us.

Every now and then, however, an acquaintance moves up to a full-fledged friend.  We spend a little more time together, discover previously unknown qualities about them, and then suddenly the kitchen needs to make room to store more of this new friend.  

I have recently gone through this leveling up of friendship with walnuts.  I hadn't been anti-walnut, previously.  Just a bit meh about them - only using them when it seemed necessary.  Now I am bringing home bags chock full of them and dumping them into the large bowl that has now been converted to full-time nut holding and taking up valuable kitchen space.  I can't get enough of their sweetly bitter, fatty taste.  I love that satisfying feeling of successfully cracking open that hard shell.  I love the sound of the shell breaking.  And I especially love excavating that craggy, brain-like nut meat.  I love it all.  I'm sad that I missed out on valuable walnut time for so long, but I have been busily making up for all that lost time together.  I do believe that my new-found friendship with walnuts will be a long, fruitful one.

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