Updated: Feb 13

I have a special appreciation for pistachios, even though they are not my favorite nut ( that honor belongs to the pecan). I will never turn down a roasted, salted pistachio. Indeed, just the sound of them being poured into a bowl makes me salivate like one of Pavlov’s dogs. No other nut has that effect on me.

Pistachios have a story to tell, if you are willing to listen. The California pistachio is very friendly and wide open to lively conversation. It puts its arm around you and tells you stories about the trees that take 15-20 years to mature and the fact that the Golden State first started growing pistachio trees as recently as the mid 1800’s. It even wants you to meet its grapevine friends from the Napa Valley.

The Turkish pistachio is a bit more reserved than its California counterpart. Its shell is not as wide open, so you have to gently persuade it to release its kernel. Once released, though, the tales told by the Turkish pistachio are mysterious, exotic and fascinating. Close your eyes for a moment, and you may find yourself wandering through the Spice Markets of Istanbul.

When two friends are sharing a bowl of pistachios and some drinks on a balmy summer evening, the nuts still participate in the conversation, but don’t mind taking a back seat. The first thing one notices is that the physical act of shelling the nuts one by one has a calming effect, much like knitting or crocheting. Cell phones are set aside. The ebb and flow of the conversation slows down as memories and confidences are shared, opinions are expressed, and problems become less problematic. By the end of the evening, our friends have achieved a level of harmony and equilibrium that wasn't there before. They are smiling and relaxed. The pistachio has done its job ( with a little help from the Aperol spritzes and Mojitos).

Could it be that there is something magical about a bowl of pistachios? Here at Baker Street Trading, we like to think the answer is yes.