Chestnuts: a staple on holiday tables

Dec 08, 2022 272

BY: Chuck Pecoraro

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Opening line in “The Christmas Song.” When late singer-songwriter Mel Torme composed those lyrics 77 years ago, he perhaps envisioned the dark brown nuts roasting on stands at street corners and shopping malls across the United States, symbolizing the sights, scents and tastes of the holiday season.

But scenes like this are not limited to this country. In Italy, as soon as there’s a chill in the air, chestnut vendors descend on piazzas with carts and roasting trays full of the gleaming nuts, a reminder that the fall is followed by Christmas. The difference is that in America, Torme’s tune brings about nostalgia with images of Christmas past for folks who never roasted a chestnut over an open flame. 

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