N Is For Nuts!

Nuts!  Nuts!  Nuts!

When I was growing up in England, Nuts used to mean Salted Peanuts, which were almost the only type of nuts that I was aware of, until you came to Christmas of course, and then there would always be a huge bowl of nuts in the living room, and it was filled with Hazelnuts, Almonds, Walnuts and Brazil Nuts. 

I used to spend hours as a young boy, when all the other treats had gone, cracking nuts, and trying to perfect the art of breaking the shell open with each type, without crushing the inside to smithereens in the process. 

All too often though, especially with Brazil Nuts, which invariably had shells as hard as armor plating, the contents would end up in small pieces, while my fingers were blistered and sore from excessive use of the nut crackers.

As the years went on I have become familiar with other types of nuts, including Pistachios and Cashews, both of which I love.

Of course not all nuts are the same, with Peanuts (or Groundnuts) actually growing under the ground, and not in a tree like the others. 

cashew fruit from BrazilThe Cashew is actually attached to a fruit, which looks rather like an Apple. 

I did eat this once when I was in Rio de Janeiro, and it has a really unusual taste.  It’s good, but an acquired taste nevertheless.  The dish I ate there was definitely a different twist on Chicken With Cashew.

I love the way that my cousin says “Nuts”.  She has a northen midlands accent, and if I can attempt a phonetic spelling, when she says it, it sounds more like “noots”.

The closest you might be able to get to hear this is if you watch the original 1971 movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

In the scene where they take the boat ride, Violet Beauregarde’s father (played by Leonard Stone) asks Veruca Salt’s father (played by the late Roy Kinnear, what business he is in.  Roy Kinnear replies “Nuts!”.   He does of course run a manufacturing company that processes peanuts, but which has been turned over entirely to unwrapping Wonka Bars in the hope of finding his daughter a Golden Ticket.

Probably the best use of the word “Nuts!” of all time however dates back to the Battle Of The Bulge in December 1944, when the 101st Airborne were holding on to the town of Bastogne, completely surrounded by the German army, and were preventing their advance westwards to the coast.

When the Germans requested their surrender, the American commander, General Anthony McAuliffe, gave them a simple one word response: “NUTS!”

I was actually going NUTTY trying to decide what to write about today, since Wednesday is when I publish my weekly News From A Weird World, but I thought I would like to do something different for a change.  I hope you enjoyed going nutty with me for a while.

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