The Tree Nut (and Peanut) Menace – Gone Nuts


After making peanut brittle the other day, the desire struck to try a simpler, alternate peanut brittle recipe as well as a cashew brittle recipe, but the stove has decided to die. It is not really dead, but I suspect there is a short or something. Time for an electrician. Good thing these are not emergency consequences. Several years ago, I had invited about 12 people for Thanksgiving dinner, and the oven went out the night before Thanksgiving. Seriously. I was running all over Reykjavik with a turkey (a friend graciously offered to cook it and bring it to dinner), looking for other ways to cook and heat the accompanying dishes. (My then-boyfriend was in Korea for work for the entire month of November, and it was his apartment and oven… so it had to wait to be fixed for his return.)

Thinking about cooking, baking and holiday traditions, I again think of the menace of tree nut (and peanut) allergies. I don't have any allergies, but I wonder about how/why it seems that allergies to nuts and legumes are cropping up with a higher frequency than in the past. Is it heightened awareness? Heightened paranoia? People being too antiseptic about everything they eat and touch from birth onward, making it difficult for their bodies to produce immunities? I have no clue — that is hardly my field of expertise.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I will soon be baking pecan pie, for example, as well as a sweet potato casserole dish that is topped with pecans. If I get around to it, I will also be making "parting gifts" (just like you get when you are the loser on a TV game show)… varieties of pumpkin bread made into mini loaves filled with dried cranberries, chocolate chips or walnuts… to say nothing of the aforementioned peanut and cashew brittle.

Thus I am planning to go nuts with nuts.

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