Food

Season’s Eatings: Street Cart Chestnuts

by

The sole reason to put oneself in the path of the rapacious hordes of tourists who stampede through Midtown during the holiday season can be found in a brown paper bag and is not a fifth of gin.

Roasted chestnuts, typically sold at pretzel carts for around $4 a bag, are one of those foods whose allure is tied directly to its presentation and immediate consumption: few things are more comforting than the smell and feel of a paper bag full of hot chestnuts. Tasting of smoke and endowed with an odd, agreeably mealy texture, they’re best consumed at or near the point of purchase, preferably on a side street, far (enough) from the madding crowd. Rip open the bag, start prying the cracked shells from the warm flesh underneath, and feel thankful that you aren’t being cattle-prodded into H&M.