Saturday, 26 April 2014
We were given a big bagful of walnuts recently. Handfuls have been shared with friends and family and the rest are spending their days drying in the sun. Those that are not gobbled up as snacks are destined to be finely chopped and used to top homemade cinnamon swirls when I get around to it - if they last that long.
I always have nuts in the pantry. A 30 gram handful makes for a yummy protein-laden snack with all the right cholesterol-lowering fats and just 185 calories. (Don't ask how I know that.) But walnuts tend to polarise people's palette. Either you like the woody taste or you don't; there's nothing in between.
I sit in the walnut lovers' camp. My brother is is firmly on the other side of the fence. However, when we were young (perhaps 8 and 6), there was a walnut incident in our home that neither of us have been allowed to forget, even 30 years later ...
A family friend had died and my parents were at an evening memorial service. Mum had pitched in with catering and baked to two large chocolate walnut cakes to bring to the funeral the next day. They were cooling while she and Dad were at the rosary and we were left with a babysitter (probably my grandmother, but no-one seems to remember where she was during the 'incident'). The cakes looked good. They smelled even better. Surely Mum wouldn't notice just a little nibble gone? We pulled out a small bit each from the back of one. I found a walnut. And another. Bonus! We pulled out some more. And then some more. We knew we shouldn't but couldn't stop ourselves until we had ripped apart the middle of both cakes, gorging on handfuls of walnuts and leaving just a few chunks of cake on the racks. I think my brother may have tried to reassemble the remaining crumbs into cake form. Surely no-one would notice?
I don't remember what happened when Mum got home but I know she wasn't happy. To this day, my brother insists he hates walnuts and always has, but we both vividly remember devouring the cake with great gusto and loving every bite!
It's funny how the sight (and taste) of something so small can bring back so many memories.