I remember two things about walnuts. There was a great episode of the old Dick Van Dyke Show that featured a scary science fiction movie, a guest appearance by Danny Thomas and a closet full of walnuts. I also recall Christmas holidays when my grandfather would sit in the corner living room chair and demolish walnut shells with those funny-looking nut crackers.

On a more serious side, walnuts are good for you, and, yes,  you can avoid the nut cracker and sore hand by purchasing the shelled variety. As Tara Parker-Pope writes in the New York Times, walnuts help your cholesterol and contain omega-3 fatty acids. Also, you can use almonds in a variety of tasty dishes:  


According to the website of the California Walnut Commission, walnuts.org, “The walnut was first cultivated in California by the Franciscan Fathers in the late 1700s. The earliest walnuts to enter California were known as “mission” walnuts.” The website also mentions that “Walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C.”

So, dust off that old nut cracker, grab a bowl of walnuts and crunch away. That candy bar can wait for another day.