Jean Jacques Cartier and the perfect walnut

Happy belated Christmas! At this time of year, my grandfather, Jean-Jacques Cartier, always had a bowl of walnuts on the dining table. He loved them – not just the taste but the look. It was one of the many objects, he felt, that nature had got just right.

So when he came up with the idea to make a walnut-shaped box, he knew that any attempt to imitate nature just wouldn’t be as good as the original. Instead he decided to cast a real walnut in gold.

I love the wrinkled gleaming result that just calls out to be held and opened but now I also look at the originals in a new light. In fact, I couldn’t resist buying a huge bag from the local market last week – cue much excitement from the kids desperate to dig out my grandfather’s neglected trusty old nutcracker so they could get to the crunchy rewards inside … and endless little painful walnut shell pieces all over the floor!

Apparently my grandfather took forever searching for the perfect walnut to cast, going through bag after bag until he found just the right one. That appreciation of nature and devotion to the details was an important part of the special man he was, and I share this post in his memory at Christmas time.

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