The nutcracker

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Do I find it unnerving after my last post clearly stated I am not given to nostalgic romps that my very next post is teed up by a nostalgic act?

No, I do not. It’s tough enough coming up with blather to fill up this furshlugginer blog without going meshugeh.

So, to begin.

I was finally on my long-overdue trip to Penn Dutch to get some real meats (manly meats!) back in stock for my home.

It had been since before Halloween that I had any steaks available for firing up on the grill. Vegetarians and cholesterol advice be darned, I needed some real food!

Fortunately, my need coincided with a Penn Dutch sale on my favorite cut (porterhouse). At $5.99/lb., I was ecstatic. For $3.99/lb. (priced for quick sale!), I was over the moon. How big was my freezer, anyway?

On my way back through the cheese section (smoked cheddar…num!) and deli (Muenster and roast beef, because you just can’t have enough beef!) to the produce section, I came across a table full of bagged whole nuts.

How long had it been since I cracked some nuts? I simply couldn’t recall. Like most everyone else, I usually bought the canned, shelled nuts at the store (cashews, almonds, peanuts) and the occasional bag of pistachios.

In fact, I had peanuts and pistachios on hand, but I gave in to nostalgic temptation and picked up a bag of walnuts.

It was only after I got home and finished wrapping all my meat and deli that it hit me: did I even have a nutcracker?

So began the search through the drawers of miscellany, otherwise known as my kitchen. Yea, did I find, buried behind my knives and serving utensils and old v-shaped cracker.

I considered this archaic looking thing (surely something I invested as little as possible on) and it dawned on me that I had never used this on nuts, but on cracking crab legs. Would this work on the formidable round walnut shells?

The first crack was impressive, sending shattered shell fragments everywhere. It would only be later, as I was cleaning up after lunch, that I would find a piece of walnut shell headed towards my door…fully seven feet away from my nut-cracking table.

By the third nut, I got the idea to crack them along the “seam” and things proceeded smoothly from there.

I was pleased on all accounts: the existence of the nutcracker, the ability to crack successfully and, remarkably, the taste of the walnuts, which were just as I recalled from nutcracking days of yore.

Now, all that’s left is to fire up one of those steaks this weekend. That’s nostalgia that never grows old!

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