The Humble Walnut : A New Year Post


January 19 and I have not made a single post in 2015.  Call it winter hibernation, call it the don’t-do-it-til-it’s-perfect-so-it-never-happens syndrome, call it a dry spell.  Whatever you want. But as I see it, the lack of posting can be attributed to two things. One of the things I will need your advice on, dear reader, so read on.

The first reason: I have been too busy.  Baking, writing, consulting, and just living. Lately, I have also been pursuing one of my newest hobbies, sleep.  I suppose one has certain seasons of life where sleep deprivation is more appetizing, but for me, the past few months have been all about getting those proverbial eight hours. 

Suffice it to say, never before have I been as aware that there are limited hours in the day. 

But I write this blog because I love it as an outlet, because I used to yearn to read a blog like it, and because the Basque Country is perhaps the best place in the world.  So I will always come back.  Come back to relate the magical things that happen to me in this coastal town of San Sebastián. To recount the flavors that keep my eyes wide open. 

I remember one of the first flavor shocks I felt upon relocating to the Basque Country. It wasn’t a Michelin-star meal, as you might guess, or a sizzling txuleta sprinkled with fat flakes of salt. It wasn’t one of the elaborate pintxos you can find on my blog.  It was a walnut.   

Sitting in a cider house, the meal over and trays of Idiazabal and apple paste parading across the dining hall, I grabbed a walnut from the wicker basket. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t like raw walnuts. Leave it to these people to not toast them first.’  I cracked it open anyway, picking the meat out of the shell, and tossed it thoughtlessly in my mouth. 

I hope you don’t think I am being dramatic…it was a big moment.  All of the negative qualities I associated with raw walnuts, that bitter aftertaste, that unpleasant texture that was always either mealy or too crunchy, were nowhere to be found. This nut had a bit of bite to it, it was meaty in texture. A healthy, plump feel. A delicious, slightly sweet, walnut taste.  And one of my former firmly held beliefs was struck down as false, teaching me a lesson that would be repeated countless times over the four and a half years that I’ve lived in this country.  

 A lesson I gratefully re-learn, every time.

 So here’s to the humble walnut, to learning greatness from minuscule things.  To the fact that size doesn’t matter. And here’s to 2015, which will SURELY be a better year than the last.


That Other Thing 

I am trying to figure out what to replace Tapa Tuesday, my weekly post that gives you a quick, simple glimpse into my life.  It’s an easy post that helps to keep me accountable.  And that is where you come in.  

What would you rather see:

  • El Lugar del Lunes (Monday Places, sounds horrible in Spanish, but hey)  This one is where I get to spotlight my favorite places in Donosti. They can be bars, they can be perches, they can be cafés….the idea is to cover a place where I am happy to just ‘be’.
  • Something about what I’m imbibing. Name tBa, but it would be a post about a mixed drink or a wine around town.
  • Or, a post that captures a perfectly normal moment in my day, no pretensions, no planning, just a snapshot of my day, either random or at the same time each week. Because it’s the little things….
  • Or, just keep going with Tapa Tuesday.


Feel free to leave a comment with your vote.