This weekend, I roasted chestnuts over an open fire.
Yes, exactly like the lyrics of “The Christmas Song.”
Until Franklin’s 32nd Dickens of a Christmas, I really had no reason to know what chestnuts are or how to roast them. Frankly, I didn’t even know what they looked like. They might have been the most complicated snack I’ve ever had to make for the stripped cart that stood in the middle of Public Square that helped support the Heritage Foundation.
Starting Friday night, myself and a handful of others scored upwards of nearly 60 pounds of chestnuts. That meant sitting at a table, cutting through red mesh and slicing through each nut with a tiny “x” to cut through the skin.
On Saturday morning, we fired up the grill and started to score the additional 40 pounds.
As we were setting up, members of the Red Hat Society strolled up to the table. They wanted to know exactly how we created them.
“We have women here that are from 50 to 83,” the group, adorned in their purple and red, explained. “We have never even had them before. We just heard them in ‘The Christmas song.'”
And I understand their position, given I was in the same realm of knowledge prior to the weekend.
Huddled around the table, they watched us soak the chestnuts, drizzle them with olive oil and sea salt and toss them on the grill.
Standing there with their bags, they had one additional question of about the chestnuts.
“How do you even eat them?”
To get at the snack, simply peel back the roasted outer core. The best way to describe the inside is sort of like that of a sweet potato with its spongy texture.
I had never sold them before this weekend, and didn’t know if for the sake of nostalgia or curiosity from a Christmas carol if people would buy them.
Nearly 100 pounds later and all of them gone, I think I found my answer.