I have been on a chestnut craze lately. At least one day every week seems to end with bum fingers cut up from peeling those frustratingly delicious little nuts. And my goodness, for a food item that seems so plebeian, they are as high maintenance as they come. Some of them don't want to give up their shell for anything, and some of them are moldy, but you can't see their dirty little secrets until after scoring, roasting, and peeling (or, attempting to peel) each and every one. But for all the wasted time and energy that goes into a bad chestnut, the ones you do manage to salvage are just so goddamn delicious.
There aren't any nostalgic stories from my past about roasting and eating chestnuts with my family during the winter. Such activities simply never occured. The most I can dig up is this one recollection I have of my mother making braised duck and throwing in some vacuum packed cooked chestnuts near the end to offer additional heartiness to a dish that was already a beast in itself. But oh was it good. The rich, fatty sauce coated the chestnuts and enhanced their already fragrant flavor. Whether or not it was that one experience from my youth or my general preference for salty over sweet, I have been trying to incorporate these guys into anything that is not a cake or cookie; first stuffing, then fish, and now soup.