Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Nut Fry

    This post is dedicated to Susan Kane because she's an AMAZING writer who I absolutely love AND because she left a very valid comment yesterday.
    Please check out her blog--it's wonderful!  Here's that link:

    So, onto the madness of the day.  This story is about my father.  I've written many posts about him, how he's big and strong, a descendant from the Vikings.  He's tough and brave (like fairy tales say).  And to top all of that off, the man makes Thor look like a wimp.  
    But don't let his bulging biceps and construction charm fool you--he's anything but a stereotype--because my father, he knows how to cook. 
    He loves fancy steaks and glazed walnuts.  Onions bloom under his calloused hands.  Once, when my father touched it, an artichoke's heart started beating again and a nearby lobster didn't even scream while in the boiling throws of death.  "Why?" you ask.
    "Because when my father cooks, everyone wants to be there, not complaining and helping as best they can."
     So, when he invited a bunch of people over for a nut fry, I never knew things would turn into such a hilarious memory for everyone.      
     On a side note, I'm craving roasted almonds right now, so I guess that's why I'm writing this story today.
    Let me tell you about "The Nut Fry."
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    Loads of people watched the master cook and his beautiful assistant (my mother) slicing mounds of nuts in half.  I never thought that was a big deal . . . until I looked at the above picture.  I may never eat a peanut or its baby again.
    Anyway, my father dipped the nuts into a special sauce.  The food smelled like perfection as everyone waited, forks poised, tongues dangling onto the freshly pressed tablecloth (since my mom loves to iron).
    Finally, the nuts sizzled in the olive oil.  People nearly shook with anticipation, waiting until the food was done.
    My dad put loads of steaming nuts onto the table.  Those rich people passed the plate around politely, but once they started eating, all etiquette flew out the window.  They talked with their mouths full.  Their elbows lounged on the table.  They didn't even gossip about people at church, because in that moment, the only thing that mattered was the food.
    When everyone's mouths seemed full--everyone's except mine and my siblings'--a fancy man with a sport's hat said, "These are the most delicious nuts I've ever had."
    A woman in a fur coat nodded.  I suddenly remembered how she had bad-mouthed the pianist at church.  Still with her mouth full, she asked, "Where in the world did you find such extravagant tasting food?"
    "Over at the plant," my dad said, a light in his eyes.
    A couple people raised their brows.
    "The plant?" another woman asked.
    "OH, yeah," my mom said.  "Those are turkey nuts."
    I gasped; that was worse than yelling "FIRE" in a crowded building.  Plus, had my reserved mother really just said the word "nuts?"  
    I wasn't allowed to use it that way.  Heck, I couldn't even say "fart."  It all started with my religious grandpa, who never swore. The worst word he ever said was "balls," and that was because he hit his head on the underbelly of a Volkswagen.  
    I stared at my iron-loving mother in that moment.  Did she know she was on grandpa's level?  After all, she'd said a very naughty word.
    I turned to my father, wondering what he thought about it, if he'd wash her mouth out with soap, but he is such a suave man, he held his judgment at bay.  
    "Yep," he continued as all of the guests stopped chewing.  They acted like their host was Mr. Boddy and they had just gotten a Clue.  (That's for you, Pat Hatt.) P. S. Check out his site if you haven't before.
    "Most people don't buy the swingers," my dad continued.  So, if you go over to the plant they'll give you a whole bag of 'em for a great deal." 
    White like death, the fanciest guest uttered one word, "Swingers?"
    "Oh, yeah," my dad said.  "The balls.  The testicles.  You know, here's a fun fact for ya, they're the same size as a human's, not big like cow nuts.  The turkeys just carry them inside the body, and I always figured they just sway around up there." 
    A lady politely wiped her face with her napkin and I had the sneaking suspicious, the fabric wasn't empty when it came away from her green face.
    "Turkey . . . nuts?" she asked.
    "Oh, no . . . " my dad said, the best, most handsome actor in the world.  "When we invited all of you over for a nut fry . . . you didn't think we were frying almonds or something . . . did you?"
    My mom looked like she would actually giggle.  My dad held it together, but my siblings and I could not.  We laughed then, these big barrel laughs because sometimes fate has a way of kicking people in the . . . nuts.
    I'll never forget all of those fancy folks and their horrified looks as my mother first said the words "turkey nuts."  But more than that, I learned a valuable lesson; if my parents invite you over for a nut fry (or even to eat "mountain oysters"), see if you've given them a reason to prank you, and if you have, politely decline.