This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Spot the frippet: almond.

Is there a nut in the house?

I'm afraid that if there is it might be you, because it certainly isn't an almond.

Yes, an almond looks like a nut and it tastes like a nut, and people all over the world call them nuts, but actually...

...hang on. I think I may be about to change my mind about this...

Anyway. A botanical nut, say the experts (who are I suppose themselves botanical nuts) is one where the hard shell does not open to allow the seed inside to grow. So that means an almond isn't a botanical nut at all, but a seed. Unless you think that billions of people agreeing that it is a nut has any weight.


Still, whether an almond is a nut or not, it is a distant cousin of the rose, and a much closer cousin of the peach. Almonds first grew in West Asia, but now they're found more or less all over the place, and the almonds themselves are chomped up wherever there are teeth to chomp them.  

The shells have a sharp side and a blunt side (look and see, they really do). To open an almond shell give the sharp side a tap with a hammer. No, really, it works brilliantly.

Almonds are to be found in handfuls and bagfuls and barrowfuls in cakes, puddings, curries, pies and cereals.

They're found in frangipane and marzipan:

in milks and liqueurs.

If you yourself happen to be a nut-free zone, then there are almond eyes to be spotted (these are eyes where the outside point is higher than the inside one).

These eyes tend to be dark, and not almond in colour, which would make them a yellowish-green.

Spot the frippet: almond. The Latin name for the tree is Prunus amygdalus, and the word almond comes from the Greek amugdalē. If you want to say that something is almond-like, and you have no ear for the beauty of language, you can say amygdaline or amygdaloid. But I'd rather you didn't.

1 comment:

  1. But, but, but......for many a year, I've called them nuts.
    I did learn recently that there are also bitter almonds, but it seems they are toxic, so I guess it's best to stay away from them.

    Oh, I'm guessing there is a hammer already out there for attacking those hard shells?