The last time I bought pistachios was just before Christmas when I was making batches of Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti as gifts for friends and neighbors. Then, last week, I was cruising the aisles of the grocery late one afternoon looking for a snack. Wouldn't you know it, I chose pistachios.
Over morning coffee a few days later I read about the pistachio recall in the newspaper. As the story grew, I found out both types of the pistachios I bought were on the recall list. I didn't get sick and not all pistachios everywhere were recalled, but there it is, stuck in my mind forever--Pistachios and Salmonella.
It's stuck there along with spinach and tomatoes and jalapenos and peanut butter and peanuts--the subjects of past recalls, some long over with, but whose memories nevertheless linger in the back of my mind. I'm not likely to soon forget that I avoided Mexican restaurants all of last summer.
Hello food processors and manufacturers--I'm tired of having to dig through my trash looking for discarded packaging to see if your product is the one on the recall list. It seems to be happening way too often.
Hello FDA--I'm tired of being the last to know. Am I going to have to start reading this list first thing every morning?
It's no wonder folks are finding their own gardens, locally grown food and CSAs looking better and better every day.
I followed a link in the original newspaper article to the Western Pistachio Association website (where they are now attempting damage control) and I found an offer for a free recipe booklet. Despite the bad press pistachios were receiving, I somehow still felt the need to request a copy for myself. After all, I didn't plan on eating the brochure. I'd worry about overcoming my newly formed aversion to pistachios later.
I wasn't too surprised when it arrived in my mailbox in record time.
I received America's Favorite Chefs Share 10 Delicious Recipes (not dated, 22 pages) and another brochure explaining how pistachios are a healthy food. From information on the website, I believe these were probably published in late 2008.
I like the little play on words found on the cover: "Go Green with U.S. Pistachios".
There are ten celebrity chef recipes along with lovely photos of each dish. This WPA press release (pdf) tells all about the booklet. Here's a sampling of some of the dishes found inside:
Arugula, "Pickled" Strawberries, Candied Pistachios and Crumbled Bleu Cheese Salad:
Tuna Crudo with Pistachios and Pistachio Oil:
Chicken and Pistachio "Fried Rice" with Fresh Ginger and Chinese Hot Mustard:
The other brochure contained tidbits of nutritional information such as:
- There are 49 pistachios in one serving.
- A single serving of pistachios has a comparable amount of potassium to that of a small banana.
- The amount of fiber in one serving of pistachios is the equivalent of eating about 1/2 cup of broccoli.
Well, sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren't.