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November 20, 2008

Plain or Mixed?

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

In one of my more profound posts I observed that people eating corn on the cob tend to do their eating either typewriter style or lathe style. (Most commenters favored typewriter, by the way.)

Now that holiday party season is nigh, I though I'd uncork another food consumption issue: Mixed nuts or plain?

One school of thought is that mixed nuts provide people a choice; those who crave Brazil nuts, say, would not be slighted.

I grant this. As host I might consider setting out a bowl of mixed. But a bowl of mixed nuts après-soirée quickly gets reduced to a collection of pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnut bits and whatever, once the good stuff has been picked out.

Little old moi, I go for straight stuff, generally lightly salted peanuts or maybe cashews (which were a rare treat eons ago in my childhood).

So I suppose if I were in charge of a party I'd set out a bowl of mixed plus one of my faves. And toss out the dregs of the mixed after the event.



posted by Donald at November 20, 2008


The idea is that because different people prefer different types of nuts, if you put out a bowl of mixed nuts the different types will be eaten in a relatively even manner and you won't be left with just one or two types remaining. It's the theory, at least, it may not always work so well in practice.

"Mixed nuts" are mostly peanuts, which are much cheaper than the other types. If you want mixed nuts without peanuts you have to pay more for the "deluxe" variety.

Posted by: Peter on November 20, 2008 1:23 PM

Wait, pecans get left over? Really? I think of those as one of the "good" nuts.

Not that I've looked frequently, but it seems to me that it's rare to see jars/cans of just Brazil nuts, or just hazelnuts. The ones you can't readily get by themselves, I would think, are probably the ones that are gonna be leftover. And are also, to me, the ones that aren't very yummy.

Posted by: i, squub on November 20, 2008 1:44 PM

Why not make the experiment cleaner?
Buy 4 types of nuts, in proportion dictated by your previous experience, and place them in separate bowls. Release the lab rats. Record the results.

Posted by: Tatyana on November 20, 2008 3:11 PM

I keep picking the dried fruits and sunflower seeds.

nuts make me fart.

Posted by: Ramesh on November 20, 2008 3:21 PM

Eating nuts that have been picked through by other people. Yumm.

Posted by: anon on November 20, 2008 3:32 PM

This is a topic very dear to Pupu's heart.

As for corns, Pupu had eaten about 30-50 ears in the last season, all in typewriter style refuting the gender-based hypothesis.

As for nuts, the case varies by the type of nuts. Almonds, especially those soy sauce flavored ones, should never be mixed with others. Neither should the lightly salted peanuts. In the case of the almonds, they are so good that it is a pain to pick them out from a bowl of mixed nuts. In the case of the lightly salted peanuts, they are so good alone but instantly depreciated when mixed with others. As for all other nuts, mixing might be a better way to go. Here is an interesting phenomenon: even though pecans and walnuts are not Pupu's favorite nuts, they tend to be the ones Pupu picks first from a bowl of mixed nuts. A possible explanation is that the dark color of pecans and walnuts are more eye-catching.

Speaking of color, when presented with a bowl of M&Ms, Pupu always eats the red ones first, then the orange ones, then whatever color that comes up conveniently. The brown ones are always left in the last. What is the point of eating brown M&Ms when they are plenty of brown chocolates around?

Posted by: Pupu on November 20, 2008 3:45 PM

Tamari roasted almonds in their own little bowl. Macadmia nuts (dry roasted and salted) in another. Some smoked salmon, good bread, and maybe some decent cheese too. Chilled white wine. It's a combo that seems to make many people happy.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 20, 2008 4:09 PM

shelled pistachios in their own bowl. cashews in another. and wasabi coated edamame in another (OK they're not nuts, but they serve the same purpose).
And lathe style on the corn.

Posted by: Julie Brook on November 20, 2008 4:22 PM

It is so exciting and a little bit frustrating to think about cocktail foods at this hour of the day!

Julie's comment makes Pupu wonder whether the lathe style of corn eating could be due to a recessive gene in the X chromosome.

Posted by: Pupu on November 20, 2008 4:45 PM

One bowl of cashews. One bowl of macadamias. How could anyone object?

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on November 20, 2008 9:26 PM

The squirrels eat all our hazelnuts before we can harvest any. But last winter, for the first time ever, they paid us back by bringing us walnuts.

Posted by: dearieme on November 21, 2008 1:23 PM

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