Sometimes we can go a little overboard with buying in bulk. The word “bulk” should give us the first clue. Do we truly need a vat of mayonnaise that can only be transferred home on a barge? It gets a little embarrassing when you have to rent a storage unit just to hold the overflow. I wonder how many kitchen renovations are actually initiated by the inability to store tubs of cheese puffs in inadequate cupboard space.
We just bought enough nuts in bulk to survive hibernation for the entire winter. To save money, we selected nuts with shells, as we figured the extra effort to open them would also prevent us from overeating. What we didn’t plan on was the possibility of starvation while trying to crack the nuts open.
Our children gathered around in fascination as we showed them these new snacks that required the use of a tool to get open. Of course, our two boys were hoping to smash them open with a hammer. But alas, I used a nutcracker, and I don’t mean the scary wooden guy from a certain holiday ballet with dancing sugar plum fairies. Somehow I ended up with the same nutcracker my family used back in the 1970s. After much frustration, I realized that this antique couldn’t even open a cobweb drenched in dew.
I placed a giant English walnut in the nutcracker and squeezed. The nut shot like a cannon across the room, much to the delight of our kids. Who would have thought that nut cracking could become a circus act. After what seemed like several hundred tries, I considered hiring a squirrel to come help us. They made it look so easy, and I guess they had lulled me into a false confidence that I knew what I was doing.
Before I checked the yellow pages for squirrel temp agencies, I was filled with a sense of dread that every squirrel in our neighborhood had caught wind of our nut delivery, and had surrounded the house in a siege. Forget about that cute little squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle, these were menacing little rodents, directly descended from the squirrels of Attila the Hun. I hunkered down and hurried my efforts.
Craaack! That’s when I discovered that flying nutshells can potentially take out an eye. So can the nut pick in the hands of a three year old. Soon shells were flying far and wide, and our living room looked like a horrifying scene from WWII. Only instead of the Battle of the Bulge, it was the Battle of the Bulk. I have a feeling that for years to come, we will be picking the nutshell shrapnel out of furniture and rugs. When I finally cracked the shell, I realized that I only had one nut and three little kids hungrily waiting for a snack. This was going to take awhile.
With such a lapse of time between the opening of each shell, every nut was devoured as though it might be our last. Ironically, we looked like a bunch of squirrels ourselves, pouncing on even the slightest morsel that managed to free itself from the shells of Fort Knox.
The next day I asked the kids what they would like for a snack. I braced myself for the inevitable four-letter word: “NUTS!” Rubbing my carefully bandaged hands, I grabbed the nutcracker and settled down for another try. Then I made a mental note for next winter’s bulk purchase: raisins.