Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you…

Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you...

Indian (or maybe Native American) nuts

Who but me would write an entire article for a major newspaper dealing with nuts? No, I am not talking about drivers in Dade County or the people we see getting arrested each night on the 11 O’clock News. I am talking about real edible nuts, the kind we like to eat and enjoy.

The particular nuts that I am referring to were known as Indian nuts, although today, depending on their origin, might be called Native American nuts. They are supposedly similar to pignolia nuts and have been called pinon nuts as well.

For you health nuts out there, they have a high concentration of monounsaturated fat, whatever that is, but I hear it is good for you, also loaded with vitamin D. (BTW, they are kosher). I haven’t determined where exactly they come from and almost fell asleep reading about all the possibilities: Spain, Portugal, Italy, North Africa, Russia, Korea, China, and of course all the Western U.S. states. With all that, you would think that they are available everywhere. Not so!

Perhaps many of you have never enjoyed the pleasure of sitting down with the bowl of these tiny shell nuts, and cracking them one at a time to expose a tiny nut about the size of a pine nut… absolutely delicious. Sometimes a family can have competition as to who can crack the most in a given time. Dentists and periodontists must have loved them.

There is one caveat however: Every once in a while you will encounter a rotten one and that will take away any desire for Indian nuts for at least an hour or so.

My home resource manager mentioned the other day that she had not seen Indian nuts in the stores in quite some time. This of course started a new conversation amongst the Sochin family. My daughter, Lori, the well-trained and detail-oriented lawyer that she is, decided to research the problem on Google.

She began reading the results of her research to us and after about 20 minutes of exploration on the subject of Indian nuts, advised us that there were only a few pages of information to go on Indian nuts. How much is there to learn about these silly little delicacies? Well it turns out that traces of Indian nut shells were found at the base of Mount Vesuvius as well as in recently discovered Roman campgrounds in England dating back thousands of years.

All I wanted to know is where I could purchase some. The next time I go to Mount Vesuvius I will begin looking around a bit more carefully. We finally found a source for them at $30 per pound. I haven’t ordered them yet but I am weakening as I write this article. Frankly as much as I love my daughter I was pleased when she finally left that evening. She insisted on continuing her “research.”

In the same vein, I sometimes find myself engaged in conversations about earth-shattering matters that require a great deal of research. I recently encountered some people at one of my favorite delicatessens and, in the course of conversation about eggplant parmesan, I cautioned them to make sure that when they order eggplant, that it be of the male persuasion.

The reasoning behind this is something that I learned many years ago detailing the fact that the female eggplant tends to be more bitter. Some say that is the same as in real life but I won’t go there!

Naturally there are those that do not believe in this theory. This time I went to Google all by myself and began researching what could be one of the most talked about subjects in the world of food today. If you don’t believe me, begin your own research and let me know what you find out. I have had chefs in fine restaurants confirm what I say is true. Oh, well, nuts to you!

Ernie may be contacted by email at

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