Friday, November 7, 2008

Roasting on an Open Fire

This morning as Cold November Rain simultaneously fell and played on my iPhod I happily realized it won't be long until my mix of Holiday Classics takes to the home airwaves. It has been suggested to me that caroling is really only welcome between Thanksgiving and New Year's day. But it's November now. Soon Jack Frost will be nipping at my nose and I'll be cleared for caroling.

I love Christmas carols (the nose-nipping not so much). Christmas carols are the most appropriate way to express holiday cheer. Most carols, anyway. There's nothing appropriate about "Santa Baby," though love it I do.

If the market appearance of eggnog did not sufficiently herald the coming holiday season, then the availability of chestnuts at the market last week surely did. I nearly broke into yuletide song right there among the farmers.

I loved chestnuts as a kid. There was a chestnut tree on the property of the church and we used to huck the burr-encased nuts at each other after Sunday school. Good times. Back at home, my dad oven-roasted them (as far as I know he did not harvest them from the church grounds) and hooked me for life.

Scoring prior to roasting is absolutely essential. Even if they did not explode (the meat expands when roasted) they'd be impossible to peel (twice! Chestnuts have an inner and outer peel) without a starting place. I'm out of practice scoring and my knives are sorely in need of good sharpening so scoring was more difficult than I remembered. I ended up using a serrated utility knife and sawing a small X in each nut.

Roast them in a preheated oven at 350° for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so. Peel the inner and outer layers away to reveal the brainy-looking nut and enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Why are you so quick to give in to those who would arbitrarily limit the Christmas Carol season?

All it takes for tyranny to thrive is for good women and men to do nothing.

To the barricades!

And the stereos!

Katie Fairbank said...

i shot myself in the foot when i proclaimed i would never make or eat soup in the summer. the caroling ban was instituted, with some spite i suspect, by a resident summer soup lover.

apparently i cannot have my cake and eat his, too.

also, the song that bursts from my mouth most frequently (often in July) goes, "Soon, soon it will be Christmas; Gee, it will be jolly." Set to the Nutcracker Suite (on Captain Kangaroo's Nutcracker Christmas vinyl classic) it's an absurd (and catchy!) song any time of year.

Anonymous said...

I think you're on the right track with the Nutcracker. That's really just classical music, not strictly seasonal.

And Sleigh Ride? In an era of global warming, it's really more of a protest song demanding alternative fuels.

Warm them up with those, maybe a few of the more humorous selections from The Chieftains' Bells of Dublin album, and pretty soon you'll be able to slip in O Holy Night without a second look...

Katie Fairbank said...

...because nothing follows a saucy Irish limerick like O Holy Night!