It wasn't until I was already preparing a roasted chestnut soup that I realized I really didn't understand what a chestnut was. I had observed their annual arrival in displays at the end of supermarket aisles from a distance, thinking they were nothing more than some kind of expensive hazelnut and generally feeling above the hooplah.
But when I cut into my first roasted chestnut and saw the sheer mass of food available inside, I began to second guess my aloofness. When I tasted my first roasted chestnut, I was so impressed by the texture and sweetness that I was instantly made a convert.
The chestnut also has a fascinating history, from the devastating blight on the American Chestnut to it's use as a staple starch by other cultures, to the reverential spot it occupies in holiday rituals. I'll post again after I serve the soup tonight, but luckily I bought a few too many and have been enjoying those on their own.