... Sometimes You Don’t

By Deborah Cassell

Nuts are my nemeses. I have no tolerance for their intrusion in banana bread, their sneak attacks on chocolate chip cookies, their clingy behavior toward brownies, their unwanted crunch in coffee cake and otherwise perfectly good pie.
Whenever discussion arises as to what foods one likes or dislikes, I am forced to share my viewpoint, uttering those fateful words that are sure to open me up to verbal attack and scrutiny.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Nuts have no place in baked goods and snacks.
For the record, I’m no texture freak. I enjoy crunchy foods! And I’m not a picky eater. I mean, Brussel sprouts are my favorite vegetable! I’m not one of those people who say they hate something without ever having tried it, either. In fact, during this year’s Snaxpo, I ventured to taste-test a variety foreign to my palate: soynuts.
I had heard they’d be sweet. Not like a nut.
But to me, a nut is a nut.
Trust me: Nuts have earned their place on my “do not eat” list. Pecans, pistachios, almonds, walnuts … it doesn’t matter what form they take. All are pure evil.
Call me crazy (i.e., “nuts”). My editor does. If I sound defensive, it’s for good reason. Apparently, I am the only human being left on earth who does not adore (as opposed to abhor) nuts.
Call it a conspiracy. I do. Thing is, I can’t seem to stop restaurants, relatives and other bakers from mixing in these shell-encased inclusions. Nuts are everywhere! They’re as unavoidable as Chicago winters (here’s another one), 30thbirthdays (mine approaches) and reality television (“The tribe has spoken”) … especially when you work in the food industry.
Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule. I actually like peanuts (yes, you read correctly), when coupled with chocolate and caramel in a Snickers bar or caramel and popcorn in Cracker Jack, or even in a pouch on a plane. (Southwest is one of the only airlines left that serves up peanuts. See “Low Air Fare,” page 27, for details.) My 5-year-old nephew has the misfortune of being allergic to peanuts, and I certainly feel for the kid. I mean, what would my youth have been without PB&J?
But the nut stops there.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like nuts, no, I don’t.
I will not eat them.
No, I won’t!