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Thursday, 3 January 2013

ANOTHER CHESTNUT STORY: told by a friend

Gary Tisdale and I have been friends ever since we both joined the same school staff in 1976.  It was my first year in the school system -- I was the teacher-librarian and he was my library-assistant.

Gary says he read my post about chestnuts “and could only smile”.  Here is his story from a trip he took to London with his partner, Morgan.

Evenings could be chilly in London in October. I can't quite remember why we were walking about on this one evening but as we down the streets of London, this rich charcoal smell assailed our nostrils. We discovered
that it was coming from a brazier over which a gentleman in a tweed overcoat (I'm sure it was tweed) was roasting chestnuts. We shelled out the money for a single bag to share and he handed us a small brown paper bag neatly folded around the top filled to the brim with hot (and I do mean hot) chestnuts. We could barely hold onto the bag.

With the tune 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire' running through our heads and with great anticipation, we quickly peeled one each and popped it into our mouths. The taste did not do the aroma or the song justice. It was like biting into a hot but uncooked potato. I'm sure this has to be an acquired taste or something you are born into liking.

Another taste that's fairly similar, are brined peanuts in the southern states. They are, at least, salty. The woman who gave us a taste of them from her husband's kettle said that she didn't really care for them but her husband was from the Mississippi and it was a Mississippi thing.

                 1980: Gary and I teaching students how to sew muppets

1981: Dragons or Dreamwhip:
I wrote the scripts for my Reading Games and Gary painted the backdrops.