This is a Christmas tradition in my family: Santa always leaves nuts and mandarin oranges in our stockings, so Christmas morning involves a lot of nut cracking and the smell of citrus.
I find that it’s also nice at an event. It’s almost bordering on an “activity” rather than just a food, but it’s not too difficult a task, so it doesn’t interrupt socializing. It does create a bit of a mess, but it’s very easy to sweep the debris off the table, but remember to set out a bowl for spent shells.
One thing I learned this year is that lots of people don’t know what nuts look like when they’re in their shells! So I witnessed waves of individual discovery and guessing games, which I thought was pretty charming.
Andrew Sterman (of
I also tried out a few nut crackers this year (as a kid we always just used sea food crackers), and I can recommend the festive modern Drosselmeyer. (Just be sure to cup your hand around the opening to prevent nut parts from flying out.)
I had a little trouble sourcing the nuts, so hopefully enough people keep up the tradition that stores will continue to carry them. I’ve been looking for months and only found these because it must be a holiday offering. Safeway had them in the produce section this year (and they were also my source for organic mandarins — I use the peel in