Monday, April 6, 2009

The Hierarchy of Nuts

As much as I try to avoid controversy I really need to share my opinion on this topic. It's time that I address the topic of edible seeds of plants more commonly known as nuts. I'd like to start my analysis with my least favorite and work my way up to the best.

Walnuts-The grunt workers in the nut kingdom are walnuts. They're ok in brownies but many people dislike the abrasive texture and feel as though they were stung in the mouth by a stingray after eating them. I also don't care for the fact that they look like tiny brains.

Pinenuts-I'm not sure if these count as a real nut or not, but the strong association they have with people selling them out of their car on the side of the road causes me to place them at the lower end of the scale. They are also too soft and oily.

Peanuts-They are a popular staple and seem to be the nut for the common man. There is nothing fancy about them. I'm not a big fan of plain peanuts, but I like them in Cracker Jacks or if they are covered in chocolate. Sometimes they get a bad rap from people who are allergic to them.

Pecans- I was never a pecan fan until same one gave me a big bag of them for Christmas. After actually having them around and eating them for a while I think they are pretty good and will insert them here on the nut spectrum.

Pistachios- They are not as common and therefore give some variety to the nut kingdom. I think these salty treats are great except for when you get an unusually strong and stubborn shell that mocks you and refuses to share its valuable contents that it's protecting.

Almonds-We now evolve to a more superior nut which most people like. My sister used to bribe and reward me with Diamond smoked almonds as a little kid and I can still remember how good they tasted and smelled.

Cashews- They triumphantly sit atop the nut pyramid as the perfect nut. They are superior in texture, flavor, and appearance. They are great in ice cream, Chinese food, salad, or anything else. Years ago I had shoulder surgery and came back from the hospital and took my Oxycontin and proceeded to watch a video while eating an entire bag of trail mix from Costco. I can't even remember what I watched, but it was the best movie I've ever seen. I just remember how warm and happy I felt as I cherry picked the M & M's, almonds, and cashews from the trail mix. Maybe the painkillers biased me a little bit, but you have to admit cashews are great.

I'd be interested to know if anyone went 7 for 7 with me and agreed with my assessment. If not don't feel bad, we all make mistakes sometimes.

14 comments:

Kristina P. said...

What about Brazil nuts? They are HUGE!

Sass said...

I actually agree with most of this.

What about pecans?

Dr Zibbs said...

I love the pistachio and the almond but they must be heavily salted.

Jeanne said...

You neglected to mention the Found-A-Peanut syndrome, where you get a nut (any nut, really) into your mouth, only to realize it's rotten. Of course, you eat it anyway, and die, and go to heaven. And shortly thereafter, you're dining on meatballs that rolled off someone's table.

All I'm saying is, allergies or no, caution is advised.

Kelly said...

I agree with most of your musings about nuts. However you really did mess up by not mentioning pecans. I am with Sass on this one. When you can make a pie out of a nut, it really should get some kudos.

PS For the record-I hate Brazil nuts! It's like eating earwax, which I try not to do.

Bee and Rose said...

I am a cashew lover too...almonds are my second choice...

Pine nuts are good to toss in some Italian dishes, but not to eat alone..bleh...

Girl Interrupted said...

I mostly agree with the list except I'd switch almonds (too hard for my taste, plus flaked almonds look like toenails) and walnuts and add macadamias as 2nd, behind cashews

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Peanuts aren't nuts, so I'd toss them.

I'd rank hazelnuts up near the top. Perhaps not above cashews, though they are delightfully delicious, but my grad school advisor loved hazelnuts the best, which is a knock against them.

Also, one bad almond can mean death. If I remember correctly, their shells are high in cyanide compounds.

Oh, and macadamia nuts in chocolate cookies = orgasmically good.

Chaka said...

I admit my failure to include pecans, macadamias, and brazil nuts. I would put macadamias between peanuts and pistachios. The other two would join the inferior ranks.

Rachel said...

I use to have a book club where people had to come with food that was somehow related to the book and when we read Death Comes to the Archbishop our food theme was pinenuts. It was suprisingly delicious. So because of that I would place them above peanuts.

But I agree with you on the walnuts - but possibly go a little further. There is no quicker way to make me grumpy than to put walnuts in a brownie.

Emily said...

"Sometimes [peanuts] get a bad rap from people who are allergic to them."
Nice. Not just death.
I've been wounded by one too many a pistachio shell digging under my fingernails. I would put them almost to the bottom since I don't eat them any more.
I thought pinenuts were among the delicacy foods. Don't they go in fancy pesto dishes and salads?

Gwen said...

Blasphemy! The pecan is King.

Beckalita said...

I buy my husband cashews every year for Christmas, but I really just buy them for me. If he didn't take them to work with him, they would be gone by the time he got home.

Jeanne said...

Nut hierarchy
Simplifies perplexing food
Wrong on pecans, though.