Macadamia nuts make a great nut butter, and they’re brilliant in White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve also been an interesting part of an international airline story.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, on Dec. 5 a the Korean Airlines executive, Cho Hyun-ah, flew into what has been described as a rage when the head steward on her flight served macadamia nuts in a package instead of on a plate. Hyun-ah berated the steward and kicked him off the flight. The plane had already begun its taxi to the runway but hadn’t taken off yet. She demanded that the plane turn around and go back to the gate, delaying the flight out of John F. Kennedy airport and inconveniencing everyone involved.

Hyun-ah, who was not only an executive for the airline but also the daughter of the chairman, has resigned from her post and apologized. Her father also apologized for her behavior, calling it “foolish" and saying he should have raised her better.

The incident on the airplane has raised an interesting discussion in the media about chaebol, the industrial conglomerates in South Korea that are family run. They are very powerful in the country, and there is concern that as the younger generations come up through the ranks, they are behaving with entitlement and ruining the country. Hyun-ah’s behavior certainly seems like entitlement.

The incident has also raised something else about South Korea: a pretty good sense of humor among its citizens. Residents have found the humor in this embarrassing moment for their country, and they've also found a new love of macadamia nuts.

Yahoo News reports that on the South Korean eBay site Auction, macadamia nuts went from making up 5 percent of nut sales to almost 50 percent of nut sales after the story broke. The country’s largest online shopping retailer, Gmarket, said sales of the nut jumped 20 percent, and another website Coupang, has sold out.

Macadamia nuts are one of the most expensive nuts available, so I imagine the sudden rush on them in South Korea won’t last long — probably only as long as this story stays in the news. Perhaps the nuts are being purchased as joke gifts or to be served for a holiday dinner — on plates, of course.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Nut rage inspires macadamia sales boom
The Korean Airlines executive who flew into a rage over improperly served macadamia nuts may have done nut growers and sellers a favor, temporarily.