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Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Archive for the ‘Nut Oddities’ Category

THE QUOTABLE NUT

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 13, 2012

Nuts are such a part of our everyday existence they even turn up in a host of quotations by authors, playwrights, poets, philosophers, and clergy.

Here are just a few that might bring you a chuckle, raise your hackles, or offer a moment of thoughtful reflection:

If .. ‘Ifs and buts’ were candy and nuts…oh, what a party we would have.” –H. Bergh

“Worldly riches are like nuts; many a tooth is broke in cracking them, but never is the stomach filled with eating them.” –Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

“I’m Charley’s aunt from Brazil–Where the nuts come from.”
‘Charley’s Aunt’ (1892) A play by Bradon Thomas.

“It takes 50000 nuts to put a car together, but only one to scatter them all over the road.”
— Darryl Somers

“I said to the almond tree, ”Friend, speak to me of God,” and the almond tree blossomed.”
–Nikos Kazantzakis

Almond blossom, sent to teach us
That the spring days soon will reach us.

– -Sir Edwin Arnold, Almond Blossoms

“A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more you beat them, the better they be”
–Thomas Fuller

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Posted in almonds, Nut Humor, Nut Oddities, Nut Quotes and Toasts, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BEWARE THE CASHEW ALLERGY —-AND THE SECRET MANGO CULPRIT!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 21, 2012

My husband has had a love affair with raw cashews for years and never had an allergic reaction to them. He’s also enjoyed mangoes and eats them with gusto whenever they’re in season. He’s nibbled on a couple of handfuls of cashews almost daily for years—that is, until now. Here’s an account of the surprising tale of the cashew allergy and the sneaky mango offender.

We traveled from our home in Los Angeles to the Philippines to visit our son who has been living and working there. Every day we feasted on the delicious and bountiful tropical fruits like longan, lanzones, jackfruit, pineapples, and the sweetest mangoes, ever.

Almost daily, we were enjoying those succulent mangoes with gusto and had them mainly for breakfast and occasionally for lunch. They were difficult to resist with their ultra silky smooth flesh and practically hairless texture. It was easy to cut into them and munch the flesh right off the mango seed.

One afternoon, my husband concluded his lunch with one of those irresistible mangoes, then, put on his socks and shoes for a fun outing that followed. Within an hour or two, he was scratching at his ankles that began to itch annoyingly. When he rolled his socks down to examine the cause of the itching, he saw a bright, red rashy area that practically encircled his ankles.

An internet search for mango allergy turned up a surprising bit of allergy information. Mangoes can, indeed, cause an itchy rash in sensitive people who handle the peel and eat the area directly under the skin. My husband remembered peeling the mango for lunch and made the connection that the mango residue on his hands came in direct contact with his ankles as he put on his socks. Fortunately, he was able to connect the mango to his itchy rash.

For several months our son had been suffering from an itchy rash that covered the upper portion of his body and his arms, but he could never find the cause. As the rash and itching worsened, he began taking medication to gain relief, but found little success. In an effort to trace the source of the problem, he began experimenting with different laundry detergents, lotions, and body-care items. He also began eliminating common foods known to be allergens, but nothing helped, until my husband’s dramatic mango reaction.

While we were together, our son also experienced a swelling and numb sensation in his lips and the area around his mouth. That symptom lasted for several days before subsiding. That, too, was mentioned in the research on mango allergy. The research was an aha moment for both my husband and our son who both swore off mangoes.

The rash on my husband’s ankles lasted for three weeks before subsiding. About a week after we returned from our Philippine visit, my husband resumed his handful of cashews and within an hour he began scratching his back. Sure enough, his back was broken out in a bright red rash that looked like slightly raised, individual red pimples–tons of them.

Then came another aha moment. That mango research mentioned the cashew family that includes cashews, pistachios, poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac. Now, both mangoes and cashews are off the menu for my husband and our son.

When we mentioned our mango experience to our other son, he told us he also experienced the numbness around his mouth and lips when eating mango. It appears there’s a heredity factor, so beware the cashew allergy and the hidden mango culprit.

Hopefully, my family’s rashy account may help solve a rashy mystery for others.

Posted in cashews, Nut Allergies, Nut Oddities, Nuts and Health, pistachios | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 124 Comments »

NUTCRACKER SWEET—MY KIND OF NUTTY BALLET

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on December 2, 2009

As autumn approaches each year, I get a little antsy for freshly harvested nuts in the shell to reach the grocery store. This year’s fresh crop has arrived and is well worth the wait! Showing off their glorious colors, fresh nuts are noticeably more delicious—they’re sweeter, more moist, and have a distinctly fresh flavor. Don’t get me wrong; the nuts from last year’s crop are still great and have been stored with care to preserve them. It’s just that the fresh ones pop with flavor that compels me to keep reaching for another and another.

If you’re not a nut like me, you may not have noticed them yet—beautiful walnuts in their plump wrinkly shells that remind me of brains, almonds in their pitted golden shells with raggedy edges, pecans enclosed in deep red shells that look as if they’d been dyed, little round sable-colored hazelnuts that have a sort of musical sound when they clink together, and Brazil nuts with their large exotic-looking triangular chocolate brown shells that are a challenge to crack.

Sometimes I find bulk nuts piled into individual bins in the produce section, one bin for the walnuts, another for the almonds. But in recent years I found the nuts attractively packaged in three to five-pound mesh bags as a stunning, colorful mixture. I take them home and empty them into a sturdy woven basket with a strong handle. I call it my nut basket because I’ve outfitted it with the wildest selection of nutcrackers you’ve ever seen.

Friends who know I’m deeply into nuts have contributed an amazing array of nutcrackers to my collection that seems to joyfully multiply each year. There’s a special one that cracks walnuts with one squeeze and another that’s made for cracking macadamias. I have three very old nutcrackers that operate on the vice principle—no, those nutcrackers don’t do surgery on anyone—not even the Vice Principal—I was actually referring to the ones that simply work like vices where I place a nut between two metal parts and turn a crank to tighten the space between. Those three nutcracker vices are true antiques, rusted to perfection, wearing their 109 years with elegant dignity, and still working stalwartly.

I also buy bulk nuts already shelled for serious baking, but there’s something deeply bonding about sitting at the table with friends and placing the nut basket between us. It doesn’t take long before the ballet begins—the nut-cracking ballet, that is. You know, it’s the Nutcracker Sweet, and is it ever sweet. Pretty soon, there’s a giant pile of nut shells on the table, and still we reach for another nut, and then, another.

Nuts have a special way of bringing friends closer. They seem to invite sharing, not only the nuts themselves, but I’m often surprised at the conversations that flow after the first few nuts have been opened and tasted. Because of these opportunities, I’ve come to equate nuts with friendship.

During this holiday season, play the Nutcracker Sweet, enjoy good friends, and keep the nut basket handy. Now, I really must go—my pistachios are calling!

Posted in almonds, Brazil nuts, Cracking and Peeling Nuts, hazelnuts, Macadamias, Nut Oddities, pecans, pistachios, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

WILL THE REAL NUT PLEASE STAND UP?

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 11, 2009

I’ve often wondered how so many slang expressions connecting nuts to craziness came into being and decided to do a little digging. Here are some expressions we often encounter and sometimes even use when dealing with perfectly normal people who seem to sometimes act unreasonably.

He’s a total nut.
You’re nuts!
That’s a nutty idea!
She’s a bonafide nutcase.
That’s the nuttiest thing I ever heard!
Check out that nutter.
They’re completely nuts.
You’re off your nut!
They’re nutty as a fruitcake.
You belong in the nuthouse!
I’m nuts about him.
Nuts to you!
That’s pure nuttiness!
One is nuttier than the other!
Have you gone nutso!
Who let you out of the nuthatch?

The dictionary was a great start. My Webster’s New World Dictionary explains the adjective “nuts” in the following way: [Slang] crazy; foolish –interj. [Slang] an exclamation of disgust, scorn, disappointment, refusal, etc; often in the phrase “nuts to someone or something”—be nuts about [Slang] . 1. To be greatly in love with 2. To be very enthusiastic about.

The word “nutty” is explained as
1. Containing or producing many nuts
2. having a nutlike flavor
3. [Slang] a) enthusiastic, often to excess. b) queer, foolish, crazy, etc.

The slang for “nut” opens another line of thought. According to my trusty dictionary, [Slang] a) the head b) the testicles; a vulgar usage . [Slang] a) a foolish, crazy, or eccentric person b) a devotee; fan
crazynuts
The AnswerBag contained a post explaining that the word “nutty,” referring to insane, was first recorded in England in 1821. Nutter is an English expression attributed to a person who is “mad,” yet another expression for crazy.

In his April 10, 2006 article “What Makes Nuts So Crazy?” posted on Slate, Daniel Engber mentions nuts in a few striking quotes. On the subject of Iran and the U.S. possibility of a nuclear strike, reporter Seymour Hersh quotes a former intelligence officer as saying that the Iranians “are nuts, and there’s no reason to back off.” Another comment came from a diplomat who told Hersh that there are weapons inspectors who believe the Iranians are “nutcases—one hundred per cent totally certified nuts.” The British see the issue quite differently with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw considering a nuclear strike “completely nuts.” Engber poses the question, “How did ‘nuts’ get to mean ‘crazy’?”

Engber tells us that the British of the late 19th century used the expression “nuts” in cases where they found something was enjoyable. They used expressions like being “nuts on something” and “crazy on something.” In the 20th century Americans eliminated the word “on” after the word “nuts” and “nuts” became a synonym for crazy. Obviously, Jack Straw’s use of the word “nuts” did not mean that he felt bombing Iran was enjoyable. He was echoing the American usage of equating “nuts” with crazy.

The word “nut” became a mid-1800s slang term referring to the head. Engber says that if you were told you were “off your nut,” it was pretty clear you were crazy.

My Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the term “screwy” as a slang expression for mentally unbalanced; crazy. Engber’s article explains that psychologist Timothy Anderson discovered that the word “nut” at one time referred to the head of the penis and later became connected to a man’s head, and following that, the testicle. It begins to make sense that the term “screw” referred to sexual intercourse during the time “screwy” was a common term. Expressions like “so and so went bananas” and “so and so is nutty as a fruitcake” were terms that appeared some time after the word “fruit” became associated with homosexuality.
crazynuts2
Regarding the connection between nut and testicle, the December 23, 1950 issue of New Yorker contains the quote, “On the N.B.C. network, it is forbidden to call any character a nut; you have to call him a screwball.”

Nuts and crazy have become so commonly intertwined that we see everyday examples in the news, internet blogs, and even book titles. A perfect example is the book by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg titled Nuts!: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success. The book tells the success story of Herb Kelleher who reinvented air travel with a bit of creativity and savvy marketing.

On HubPages prominently placed at the top is the headline “Rush Limbaugh is REALLY Crazy (“nuts” would be a better word)”

Even GameGecko.com, an internet game website, latched onto a catchy name for its featured game “Crazy Nut.”

A post by Henry Fernandez on the May 11, 2009 AlterNet mentioned a recent post by ThinkProgress discussing a far-right conservative contingency that expressed concern about President Obama’s choice of Harold Koh for Legal Adviser to the Department of State. Fernandez says, “Their nutty views have been trumped up by Fox News and the New York Post with extremist Glenn Beck leading the charge.“ Beck was quoted from his appearance on Fox News after expressing strong opposition to Harold Koh, “There is a big debate on the internet, in the New York Times and everybody else, saying that I’m a crazy nut-job because of Harold Koh.”

The connection between nuts and crazy has been well established in the media and continues to appear in movie themes, popular songs, food products, advertising messages, and everyday conversation. So, I’ll close this crazy blog post with this nutty thought:

I sincerely hope your crazy day is filled with pure and delightful nuttiness!

Posted in Nut Folklore, Nut History, Nut Oddities, Nut Quotes and Toasts | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Eat Nuts Obamicon Style

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 21, 2009

Today, a very special friend emailed me this wildly expressive Obamicon-style poster of my portrait. He happens to know about my passion for spreading the word of the health benefits of nuts.

So, with his creative ability to turn a phrase, he superimposed the “perfect mantra” onto my photo.

I love it! It’s perfect for a nut like me. Just two words, yet they speak my message with such clarity.
zelposter

Posted in Nut Oddities | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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