The Story with Nuts

OK, bear with me. I’m still trying to make sense of this.

Put a bowl of peanuts in front of me at a bar and I’ll clean it out, E. Coli be damned. I can’t stand smooth peanut butter. It’s gotta be crunchy. Plain M&Ms vs. peanut M&Ms? I can’t stand plain M&Ms because I know how much better peanut ones are.

No give me a bowl of mixed peanuts and almonds and I’ll eat all the almonds and just a handful of peanuts. There’s just no comparison. Now consider the M&Ms again: Eat an almond M&M (they sell them in big bags for the holidays, in case you haven’t experienced them) and it’s like night and day. Again, no comparison: Almond M&Ms are to die for, and in a bowl with peanut M&Ms, you can’t go back to the old version.

OK, now it gets weird.

Give me almonds and cashews and I will eat the cashews without hesitation. If we get a tin of mixed nuts, everything gets eaten until the almonds are left at the bottom of the can. They’re just too hard/crunchy, and that brown papery stuff on the outside gets all over everything. Chocolate-covered cashews (since they don’t make M&Ms beyond almond that I’m aware of) are so much better than anything. You could eat these things for dinner AND dessert.

OK, but what about the end of the line: Macadamia nuts. Macadamias are the most prized of all the nuts. Buttery and tender… whoa, these are to cashews like Vegas is to Reno. Same premise, but on a whole other level of intensity and decadence. This is why people bring back macadamia nuts all the way from Hawaii when you can just as well get them at your local Safeway. They just seem so exotic and awesome. You can get a macadamia-cashew blend from Mauna Loa. I buy it whenever it’s on sale, and wouldn’t you know it, at the bottom of the can there’s always a whole bunch of cashews just sitting there, neglected.

Now this effect isn’t just me, it’s my whole family. My wife eats exactly the same way, but we’ve never discussed this odd effect. Even my three year old daughter won’t eat the peanuts when almonds are available, and she won’t eat almonds if cashews can be had. How did this nut heirarchy get established? I just don’t get it: Even in the face of rational examination — my right brain knows I love peanuts — I would choose one macadamia nut over a handful of peanuts. But it’s deeper than that: In the presence of superior nuts I completely loathe the lesser nuts. But by themselves, I like them just fine. What is wrong with me?

And don’t even get me started on pistachios and hazelnuts. And Brazil nuts… yoiks.

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is a veteran technology journalist and the owner of Null Media, a custom blogging company.