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Post-A-Day, 9/18/14 — Chestnuts and Plagiarism

Post-A-Day Challenge:  Write about anything for 10 minutes.

CHESTNUTSUnder the spreading chestnut tree, the village —– Oh, no. Wait. That’s already been written. Okay, let’s just talk about chestnut trees. Or rather, let’s talk about the nuts themselves. I’ve never seen a chestnut tree in real life, but I have seen chestnuts. They hold a special romanticism for me, primarily because I LOVE Christmas, and I’ve always connected roasted chestnuts with that wonderful holiday. But I’ve never been able to successfully roast chestnuts.

I bought some one year and was all excited about roasting them. Of course, not having a fireplace in my home, my only choice was to roast them in the oven. I found instructions for doing so, but somehow, my nuts didn’t look right when they came out of the oven. I’m not sure I did it right.

Well, laugh-out-loud — you’d think someone with a college degree and experience teaching school, running a home, and writing for a living would be able to figure out how to roast chestnuts successfully. But I didn’t. I think it’s partly because I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take off part of the covering before I roast them. The instructions didn’t say anything about that, but mine certainly didn’t pop open a little the way they were supposed to, so I thought maybe I was supposed to remove a part of the outer shell first.

Anyway, as part of my 10-minute writing exercise, I’m confessing my failure as a chestnut roaster, and I’m also asking if anyone out there is an expert – or is even mildly successful at roasting chestnuts in an oven. And if you are either of the above, would you pass along your advice to me. It’s coming on towards Christmas —- well, wouldn’t you know it — I think I’ve plagiarized again. Didn’t a song by Joni Mitchell have that line in it somewhere?

Writing for 10 minutes and plagiarizing two people must be some kind of record. But, hey, let me know if you have advice about chestnuts before Christmas, would you please?

My timer is down to one minute and 19 seconds, so I’ll just add this: Thanks a lot and Merry Christmas!

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16 thoughts on “Post-A-Day, 9/18/14 — Chestnuts and Plagiarism”

  1. As kids we use to walk the forest and collect chestnuts, I had never fancied roast ones until one Xmas we went to an old Victorian village exhibit and they had some with mead wine and my favourite Xmas drink mulled wine,served warm..As for roasting, have no idea sorry.

  2. Gosh is it Christmas time again? Must say I have never gone for chestnuts roasting on an open fire. My mother makes them in a sort of sauce for the turkey. The sauce is always a highlight.
    PS I added to your plagiarism list a few times. Did you spot them? I think one is very obvious!

  3. I actually love roasted chestnuts – when they are done right. When I lived in New York there were street vendors, some of whom had chestnuts roasting on a fire they had set up in what appeared to be a metal drum with a grate set on the top. Some tasted good, some didn’t. What I discovered was the secret seems to be soaking them for at least 24 hours in milk in the refrigerator. What you do is get a very sharp short knife (a pen knife works well, or a paring knife if it has a sturdy enough blade). Carefully slice an “X” in each chestnut, soak in milk for 24-48 hours, then roast. I only have an oven to roast mine in – no fireplace. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil, set the “X’d” milk-soaked chestnuts on the ungreased foil. Bake. I usually do mine at 350 to 425 degrees depending on if I’m in a hurry. I can’t remember how long I cook them – I just keep an eye on them til they look done. The ones I don’t eat right away get tucked into the fridge. Delicious either warm or cold. Most of them crack open easily because the X’s cause the edges to curl up a little – just right for your thumb to push it open. I have some in the fridge waiting to be cut, soaked, and cooked. We could’ve had those at Monday night’s class! 🙂 – Melinda A.

      1. By the way, sometimes people aren’t crazy about chestnuts because they expect a “nut” crunchiness. However, the chestnut meats are rather breadlike with a slight sweetness – and dry. So, you should probably have a glass of good red wine nearby. Or perhaps a cup of cocoa.

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