One of the pleasures of the winter holidays, Reggie's believes, is cracking open nuts and consuming them. It is a most satisfying activity, Dear Reader, and one that brings to mind pleasant memories of many cozy winter afternoons spent with family and friends. Accompanied by a cup of hot tea or a cocktail (Reggie's preferred companion beverage), nuts are a most tasty and satisfying comestible.
I've written before that I am fond of clementines, too. Nuts and clementines, which are both at their peak this time of year, go together wonderfully, I think. A bowl of the little citrus is usually to be found within reaching distance of a bowl of nuts at Darlington House during the holidays. In fact, a clementine was sitting in the bowl of nuts I'm featuring in this post only a few minutes before these photographs were taken. I ate it.
This Christmas we filled an antique Bennington bowl with an assortment of nuts, and we have another, smaller, Bennington bowl nearby for the spent shells. In other years we've filled a large silver bowl with nuts, but this year it seemed more appropriate—given our overall woodsy Christmas theme—to use a more quotidian Bennington bowl.
I'm not too picky about where I buy my nuts. I bought the ones I'm showing here in a bag at a supermarket. They're delicious.
Once I've filled the smaller bowl with the spent shells I enjoy tossing them on the fire, where they make a pleasing snapping and cracking sound as they burst into flames.
Our nutcracker and pick set, fashioned of horn and steel, were made in Germany in the first half of the twentieth century. I inherited them from my Darling grandparents. Their handles are carved to show the likenesses of a hound, a hare, and a boar. I have a collection of nutcrackers, but these are my favorite—for both sentimental and aesthetic reasons.
I think the nutcracker and pick look particularly good sitting among the nuts. Tan-and-brown horn handles, tan-and-brown nuts, and tan-and-brown bowls. They all go together perfectly.
There is little more satisfying than hearing the crack! of a nut when it opens to reveal its treasure.
And what a delicious treasure it is, indeed! So sweet, so tasty, and so nutty!
If you haven't done it yet this season, Dear Reader, I urge you to buy yourself a bag of nuts, dig into it, and crack open and eat some of the little darlings. I'll be doing exactly that over the next several days myself. Won't you join me, please?
Photographs by Boy Fenwick