Monday, February 2, 2015

Aw, nuts.

The Huffington Post had an interesting article the other day, amid all its political coverage:  Whatever happened to red pistachio nuts?

Time was, the only way you got pistachios was red.  And not a red from nature, because they are sort of beige in color to begin with. Most of the pistachios we gobbled used to come from Iran, where the harvesting and roasting process left the nuts with splotches and blotches. And once the Iranian hostage crisis came along, our government put an embargo on importing pistachios from that troubled nation, forcing the American Nut Industry, a mighty collective of snack purveyors, to plant pistachio trees in California.

In a nutshell, that has worked out pretty well.

Today the United States is the world's second largest producer of pistachios -- after Iran -- and around 98 percent of pistachios grown in the United States come from California. The rest of the country's commercial pistachio production occurs in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

But America - the nation that first put a man on the moon, the country that invented the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone (but not the I Ching), the people who figured out how to get over 600 little tiny time pills in a Contac cold capsule, well, American technology rolled up its sleeves over this red nut problem, and figured out a way to dry and hull the nuts without leaving a stained nut, which is why they used to dye them red, so you wouldn't see the stains.

Baltimore's own Babe Ruth stayed fit by
regularly consuming 18 hot dogs at a time
And then American technology, having figured that problem out, turned to an even stickier hand-stand situation:  that little wax paper napkin that sidewalk hot dog vendors wrapped your lunch in.  As Lenny Bruce said, those napkins just smeared the mustard all over your hands, "sort of like flavored Man-Tan."

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