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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Red pistachios

The pistachios of my childhood. (Photo from

I did draw today, another picture of a sheep. I wasn't satisfied with it, so I went downstairs to raid a cupboard. Aha! Pistachios.

I got out the jar and began shelling and eating them right there at the kitchen counter. I figure when the cap is full of pistachio shells, then I'm full, too, and I put the jar away. I should confess that this is a wide-mouth jar from Waitrose, so the cap is plenty capacious.

Anyway, I began thinking about pistachios, which was more pleasant than thinking about that sheep picture I don't like, or the sketch for yet another sheep picture that I got done today and ALREADY don't like. 

I decided that eating pistachios is probably a weight-loss tactic. I mean, it takes effort to break open the shell, pick the little nut out, discard the shell and eat the nut. I thought perhaps there could even be a net loss of weight.  Amazingly, I was not alone in this thought. There is a Pistachio Principle. To wit:

In December 2008, Dr. James Painter, a behavioral eating expert, professor and chair of School of Family and Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinois University, described the Pistachio Principle. The Pistachio Principle describes methods of 'fooling' one's body into eating less. One example used is that the act of shelling and eating pistachios one by one slows one's consumption, allowing one to feel full faster after having eaten less.
Well, my idea was ALMOST true. And in my case, I've eaten pistachios so often for so long, I'm a really fast pistachio picker. No matter. I really like pistachios. The contest is between them, cashews and pecans as my favorite nut.

The pistachios I ate today have beige shells. That's the usual color of pistachio shells...except in the New York City of my childhood. Then the shells were always bright red, and our hands were dyed with it if we ate any amount at all.

Pistachio ice cream atop a scoop of strawberry. (Wiki Commons)
It never occurred to me to wonder, back then, why the nut shells were bright red but pistachio ice cream was always green. As it turns out, the shells were dyed red to hide stains that occurred when the nuts were picked by hand. What sort of stains might those be, then? All I can think of is blood. Well, OK. One other possibility but I don't want to go there. I ate a lot of pistachios when I was a kid in New York.

As it turns out, the ice cream contained dye, too, as the nut meats are sort of beige with maybe a bit of green.

Pistachios have significant health benefits, can be used to line plant pots instead of pebbles, and are also useful for arts and crafts. According to Wikipedia, pistachio shells are used for "holiday tree ornaments, jewelry, mosaics, and rattles."

I don't do crafts. Usually. Once I made a little garlic basket. It was the monthly project of a garden club I belonged to when I lived in Delray Beach, Florida, and thought I might possibly become a Lady Who Lunched. I didn't. I ended up opening a little art gallery, which is, actually, still a sore subject, so I won't talk about it now. I don't know what happened to the garlic basket, but it did have some use beyond holding garlic; I STILL know how to make a simple basket. I also know how to field strip a Beretta automatic and shoot the eyelashes off a gnat (well, actually, just the head and groin of targets.) I don't expect to ever use either of those skills again.

I do expect to eat pistachios. Probably tomorrow. But I will not be creating jewelry or mosaics or anything else from the shells, except garbage.

Pistachios as nature intended, a great diet food. Sort of. (Wiki Commons.)

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