Roasted Chestnuts

Do you snack? Or maybe the bigger question is, do we need to snack? There is no definitive answer to this question, but it does bring up many other questions. Do we snack because snack foods have been introduced? Maybe. Our traditions of breakfast, lunch and dinner are clearly born out of an agrarian society where a farmer needed strength to go out in the field in the morning, a break to replenish while the sun was hottest and then a hard earned meal at the end of the day when he gave thanks for the bounty and shared time and food with the family. Walking and riding behind a plow, mending fences and herding cattle lent no time for snacking and the strenuous work kept the body toned and functioning well with regular use.

Today, we skip breakfast because we don’t need a lot of strength to punch a keyboard and sit behind a desk. Coffee stimulates the brain (a bit) and that seems to work until lunch. Lunch is no longer a replenishment but often the first meal of the day. Dinner is all over the map, literally. And for those who were too busy during the day for even lunch, it may be the only meal of the day. So, what we have done is set ourselves up to snack. Without regular meals and strenuous activity to burn that fuel, we leave ourselves still needing nourishment. But, it has to be quick, easy and satiate our hunger. There in lies the problem. Sugar is the quickest to get into our system so we NATURALLY snack on sugar, and the things that turn to sugar (carbohydrates).

I work just about everyday just like I have described. My goal is to slightly alter the snacks I eat. When I naturally have a craving for something sweet in the morning I try to have fruit. It has just enough sugar along with nutrients that I need. In the afternoon when I want carbohydrates, I pass up the chips and try to have some carrots or celery or other raw vegetable. It provides the same satiation, without all of the added sugar, salt and things I can’t pronounce.

Like Michael Pollan says: “If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you are not hungry.”

Chestnuts are still in season and I love them in a number of recipes. Have you ever wondered how to roast them?

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Chestnuts (in the produce section)

Tools

  • Sharp Paring Knife
  • Cookie Sheet
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425.
  2. With the flat side of the nut down on a cutting board, very carefully cut an “x” on the rounded side. The cuts should be about 1/2 way across the top. Repeat until all nuts are ready.
  3. Place on cookie sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes. The nuts should burst open.
  4. While still hot, peel away the outer skin. Don’t worry, some will not come out whole and others will be shriveled and nasty. Plan to end up with about 1/2 of the nuts whole and ready to use.

 

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