When Passover begins again next week, I will stage my millionth attempt to rescue some meaningful spark from its story -- this time, by exploring charoset as a glorious dish at once ancient and futuristic, traditional and infinitely adaptable.
Who could forget the tragic "peanut butter kiss of death" headlines about a Canadian teen who died of anaphylactic shock related to a peanut allergy. Well, the teenager did die -- but little else of that story proved true.
Buckwheat grain gives an amazing flour with a rich and deep earthy texture which fits perfectly in these cookies. Buckwheat is also gluten- and wheat-free, making it an ideal flour substitute in most dishes for people with related allergies.
Why are pistachios the semi-forgotten nut? Ask any random group of Americans to list five types of nut. Pistachios probably won't make the list. Peanuts will, and peanuts aren't even nuts. They're beans. Almonds would probably top that list. Almonds get all the attention.
We used to think that "a calorie is a calorie" and all foods basically impacted our bodies the same way. We now know that's not true. In fact, there are some foods that are truly super -- they pack the biggest nutritional bang even in small portions and help fight diseases.
Forget the fruit smoothie and energy bar; today's fashionably health conscious leave the gym with a bottle of coconut water in one hand and a fistful of raw walnuts in the other. But are they the superfoods that some have them cracked up to be?
I grew up being told that nuts were dangerous, that they would make me fat, that nuts were an outrageous self-indulgent luxury to eat in secret or in shame and very seldom -- a status they shared with marshmallows, chimichangas and Mystic Mints.
There is an intrinsic problem with measuring the quality of a system by how well it conforms to what you already believe. Such a system gets bonus points for agreeing with you -- even when you are wrong.