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Saturday, November 3, 2018
An old friend’s recent Facebook comment reminded me of pistachio nuts. Yes, they are still around, bigger and better than ever, but they have lost their personality.
Well, sort of, they did use to be different.
Pistachios used to be red. They were all salted, I mean really salted, soaked in brine salted. We used to buy them from a dispensary machine, like a gum machine. You would get a handful for a nickel.
They were red because they were dyed red. Why I don’t know, but we always just assumed that was their real color. They were sometimes called Christmas nuts, red shell, green meat. When you ate pistachios way back when, everyone knew it because your fingers and lips were stained red and stayed that way for a day or two.
Pistachios today are easy to open, you can pry most open with your fingers. The pistachios with personality required a front tooth to pry open the tiny crevasse in the bivalve shells that guarded the nut.
I chipped my tooth several times trying to get at the nut inside. Some nuts had no crack to pry open and required back molar action or a hammer to open. You then had to pick through the broken shells to pick out the meat.
Today you can even buy pistachios already de-shelled. Ha…spoiled people today.
The pistachios I remember were smaller than today, but they tasted better, they had a deeper flavor, if deeper is a thing, anyway they did taste better. Of course, about every sixth nut was rotten and tasted awful. Spit out and gulp water awful, and since they were all so tightly enclosed by their shell, you never knew if a nut had gone bad or not.
As I remember, almost invariably the last nut in every batch was somehow always a bad nut. It took an extra nickel and a new handful to get rid of that bad nut taste.
Yes, the pistachio nut of today is bigger, easier to get at and they almost never go bad.
Still I miss the old finger staining, tooth chipping salted nut of yesterday. They just had personality.