February 18, 2011
REASONS I KNOW GOD EXISTS: NUTELLA
In the 1970's a young man left the comfortable confines of his family and home here in the United States and flew to Italy to spend the next two years of his life spreading "the good news". There he met a beautiful, olive skinned, Italian girl. Years later the two fell in love, moved to the United States and started a beautiful family of their own. "What the does this have to do with Nutella?!" You ask, easy there trigger, trust me I'm getting to that. He attends Princeton gets his PhD and becomes a professor, while she takes care of the house and kids, rides a stationary bike for millions of miles and learns the English language by watching soap operas. They have two stunning children and during the mid to late 80's move into a brown brick house located in Orem, Utah. A brown brick house that just so happens to be three houses down from a classy yellow aluminum siding and brown shuttered house that I had just moved into two years previous. Over the next few years they would welcome two more near perfect children into their family, and their oldest child would become my best friend.
Growing up I spent a large amount of time over at their place, and It was wasn't out of the ordinary to see a jar of Nutella in nearly every room of their house. My best friend usually had a jar of Nutella the size of my head on his night stand, and without exception always had a handy spoon waiting right along side of it. Since everything on the jar was written in Italian I had no clue what this foreign substance was. After close to two years of daily curiosity and constant invites I finally submitted and gave in to temptation. I picked up my best friend's spoon, removed the lid and indulged. I had never tasted anything like it, It was to good to be true. I was hooked. From that moment on every time they went on a family trip to Italy they would bring me home a fresh jar of Nutella straight from the motherland. In the early 90's when my parents got divorced they were quick to show me the kindness, care, and concern that not many others did. While professionals all over were prescribing Zoloft and Prozac I was being prescribed a healthy dose of neighborly love and Nutella.
To put it into proper perspective back then you couldn't buy Nutella at your local Utah grocery store like you can now, the only people eating Nutella were all connected to Italy in one way or another. So basically It was like living three houses down from Al Capone during the Prohibition.
I can't begin to describe how amazing Nutella is so I'm not going to do it the disservice of trying. I will just say this, if Gandhi & Mother Theresa had a baby I'm almost positive their offspring would be a nine pound six ounce jar of Nutella. Also It is a little known, but well documented truth that the fall of Hitler and the Nazi Party can partially be contributed to Nutella.
Though my favorite way of eating Nutella is still from a spoon while nursing a cold glass of milk, It's a indisputable fact Nutella makes everything taste better. I've eaten with a spoon straight from the jar, on bread, on croissants, on bread sticks, on muffins, on bagels, on toast, on rice krispie treats, on ice cream, on cereal, on roasted marshmallows, on chocolate chip cookies, on cakes and brownies, on cupcakes, on crackers, on pancakes, french toast, waffles and crepes, on pretzels, on bananas, on french bread, on a sandwich with peanut butter, on bacon, on sausage, on eggs, in hot chocolate, in oatmeal, in grits, in cream of wheat, in milk, on strawberries, on pears, basically on all fruit. Anyway, like I was sayin', Nutella is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's uh, Nutella-kabobs, Nutella creole, Nutella gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple Nutella, lemon Nutella, coconut Nutella, pepper Nutella, Nutella soup, Nutella stew, Nutella salad, Nutella and potatoes, Nutella burger, Nutella sandwich... I've licked Nutella off an old homeless man's beard, fingers, and boot, off an old bus stop bench, off of public library books, off of Serbian cigarette butts, and even off of used hypodermic needles I found; just to name a few. Nutella can be spread, injected, slathered, doused, topped, drizzled, smothered, soaked, dipped, dunked, and now sprayed. The Possibilities are endless. In fact, a census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Nutella.
If you have any Italian connections of any kind make sure you get your hands on a jar of Nutella imported from Italy. My best friend has spoiled me for years and still to this day keeps tradition and brings me back a gigantic jar of Nutella when ever he returns home from a trip back to Italy. Though Nutella sold in grocery stores here in the United States is nothing to complain about, the Nutella made in Italy is ultimately better. This is not debatable. It's like the people that will try to tell you the sea food is just as good in Utah and Nebraska as it is in California. Really!? Is a two dollar bottle of Charles Shaw or Boone's Farm wine pratically the same as an aged bottle of Chianti from Tuscany? How about the select few that refuse to try Nutella or don't like Nutella? To those without a tree nut allergy that refuse to try Nutella or claim to not like Nutella, do me a favor and have your closest sibling punch you in the face. If you don't have a sibling it's because you are a horrible human being and your parents couldn't fathom the possibility of having another version of you running around ruining their lives... moving right along.
Even now that the FDA require nutrition facts on everything (thanks a lot Bin Laden) there is still plenty of debate as to the differences between the American version that comes in a plastic jar and the original recipe aka the Italian or European version that usually comes in a glass jar. Rather than wasting time reading hours worth of pointless, endless blogs and online debates ranging from partially-hydrogenated peanut oil to trans-fatty acids. I've kindly done all the dirty work for you. Here is a list of all the ingredients for the original recipe so you can see for yourself why it is so much better. Enjoy!
sugar, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (from milk), soy lecithin: an emulsifier, vanillin: an artificial flavor, unicorn blood, feathers from a Pegasus, tears of a leprechaun, refined hair particles of a mermaid, reduced centaur sediment, and the ashes of a phoenix.
Poor Ben Franklin lived during the wrong time. If Benjamin Franklin were alive today and was lucky enough to live three doors down from one of the great Italian American families of our time, his quote would probably be something closer to this: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and Nutella." Some families have been eating Nutella for 70 years, thanks to one wonderful family I've been eating it for over 20 years now.