This, That, and the Other

A Little of This, A Bit of That, and The Other: Hickory Nuts is the original title of this, my weekly column. I am getting a little tired of having to thank David for his inspiration once again, but David, once again, thank you.


As a self-proclaimed wordsmith, I found a term which I bequeath the “Word of the Year” award. The word is one I have never come across before—but both its spelling and meaning are soothing. Susurrus, pronounced “soo-sur-uhs” is defined as a soft, murmuring sound.

A favourite blogger of mine is a Canadian living the American dream. His blog, Live and Learn is one where I find the most charming quotes and astute observations. It is where I discovered my new favourite word, its definition, and subsequent context. Described as one of the most beautiful words in the English language, it “resembles the rustling symphony of the fallen leaves moving across pavement or the whispers created by the branches of the trees on a windy autumn day.” The vivid picture painted by such a description is one that I would like to be water coloured into.

The definition goes on to say that “uttering susurrus also stimulates the acoustics of nature’s effect” and is “one of those rare words where it’s aesthetic, sound, and feel coincide beautifully.”


I was watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Channel program “15 Minute Meals” early this morning, and while I really like the chef, I have a bone or two to pick with him. The secret to his 15 Minutes Meals is all in the preparation. He has all his utensils out, the food processor at the ready, and the water boiling for his pasta or potatoes or whatever culinary delight he is preparing that needs some boiling. This is cheating. Everyone knows that to get a decent boil going for a pan of water takes some time—yet this is not part of his 15 minutes. Nor is the time that it takes to set up the meal—getting everything out and half-prepping it (washed greens, unwrapped cheeses, and unscrewed lids).

I am not particularly fond of spending time in the kitchen on a daily basis. On occasion I like to cook, but the daily grind is just not something I look forward to. So when I am promised a 15 Minute Meal, I want to only spend 15 minutes. Any more than that, and I feel cheated. Seriously, Jamie’s meals would take most of us at least 40 minutes—and that is still not too long to spend on fixing a meal if we are told the reality of the situation. But to advertise something as 15 minutes and it to turn out to be 40 is not a good thing (I asked Martha and she said I could use her tagline).

So, Jamie, while I still love your show—quit trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

The Other: Hickory Nuts

I am pleased as punch. Now, how pleased that really is, is a complete mystery to me—but I am using this phrase to tell you how happy a mystery benefactor has made me. Someone, who will remain unnamed at this point (mainly because I do not know their name), left me a bag of hickory nuts after reading my columns nostaligizing the lovely nuts.Their note read “I enjoy your columns, particularly the one on hickory nuts” or something to that effect (the note has been lost in the plethora of papers that surround my desk—but I did not misplace the little nuggets of goodness).

So, to that person I have two things to say: 1. Who are you? 2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your writing looks somewhat familiar, but I could just be fooling myself into thinking that I recognize it. I must tell you that I am enjoying the hickory nuts immensely.

In the old days, I used a hammer on my parent’s brick outdoor fireplace to break into the little fellows, and capture their nutty goodness (some of which I had to forego as we were tasked with getting the meat of the nuts for a cake my mom would make). Instead of getting the hammer out, I found my nutcracker (until this point only used at Christmas) and a little utensil that comes with it to dig the tiny pieces from the crevices of the shell. Now, this is no easy task, but once a morsel is successfully unattached the reward is a gustatory delight. You may think I am overstating it, but the hickory nuts have brought back wonderful childhood memories. They taste of the woods, autumn, and times past. Again, I say thank you.

Published in: on November 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm  Comments (21)  
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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Haha!! Love the part about Jamie Oliver, and I couldn’t agree more. He’s cheating! He probably has someone who does all the prep work for him :).

    • exactly!

      • I think you and I should do a cooking show where we slap together truly quick meals that show people how not to waste their time in the kitchen when they could be sitting on the couch with a good book :).

      • we could so do that! I can put together a real 15 minute meal!

      • Or, how to marry a man that loves to cook so that you don’t have to cook at all LOL!!

      • I thought my man could cook–little did I know it was a ruse–he makes up for it in other ways though

      • Really! (wink, wink)

      • so that is where you mind goes automatically my dear girl

      • Yes, yes it does :). I’m a badddd girl.

      • you are!

  2. Love the hickory nut mystery person. You must have good karma Lou!

  3. Ha ha, love it that you pointed it out about Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute meals!! I never thought of that!

  4. Judging from other commenters, you hit something that most of us think, about all the preparation of the meals that are prepared not only on cooking show but all the ‘chefs’ that go on these talk shows… and have about 10 or more little dishes with the ingredients in them and
    2/3 of the ingredients I don’t even have . To go out and buy them all makes the meal not so appealing after all. That’s my story for not cooking all these special dishes… and I’m sticking to it.. Diane

    • I love cooking shows, but the reality is not the same as they present it–the best one though is Ina Gartner of Barefoot Contessa fame–I have actually made some of her recipes–what you see with her is what you get

  5. I always thought those 15 min or 30 min meals being shown on TV were sketchy especially when a whole pile of produce vanishes in less than 5 seconds due to the superior chopping skills of the chef in question. They might be able to chop a bowl of veggies in “no time” but I’ll still need at least a good minute or so to make sure all my fingers are still there.
    Are hickory nuts similar to chestnuts? I’ve never had any so I’m curious as to what they are like. 🙂

    • I have cuts on three of my fingers from cooking this last week–and it was always because I was in a hurry–so no 15 or 30 minute meals for me

      hickory nuts are quite small and taste like the best walnut you have ever had

  6. Thank you for the kind words LouAnn. So glad that you find certain posts so inspiring. It makes my day.

    And especially loved your close. “woods, autumn and times past”

  7. Susurrus is one of my favourite words too. I see the spellchecker doesn’t like it though.

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