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Wednesday
Aug272008

I Really Am Nuts 4 Nuts  

Any NYC dweller or visitor is quite aware of the many nut stands that flank the sidewalks of Manhattan and the other boroughs. Often these stands have orange and white umbrellas with the caption, “Nuts 4 Nuts” on top. The vendors sell peanuts, almonds, cashews, macadamias, coconuts chunks, and mixes of nuts coated in a sugary, crunchy coating. What this coating is, exactly, no one really knows. Most vendors pour in some mystery oil and other such products, stir up a batch of nuts in a small copper pot, and let the lovely smell attract customers. Any pungent, burning odor you smell is not from the nuts, but rather from the nearby hot dog carts. Don’t wrongly assign blame! These nuts are fantastic, and anyone I’ve shared the nuts with has quickly become addicted.

Nut vendors can vary in both friendliness and quality of nuts produced. I’ve had many nut vendors over the years, and many have been very pleasant, asking how my day is, giving me the freshest pack, etc. I even had one vendor who, over the years, gave me free packs because I was such a good customer. Then one day he disappeared. In halted Spanish, my friend asked the next nut vendor where my old one had gone. The answer?

A cruise.

Besides not realizing that nut vendors earn enough to go on cruises (I have a feeling that results aren’t typical), you probably also didn’t know that they are cooked differently. The ones with dark, shiny, thin crusts are not my come of tea. The ones I go for are a lovely golden color, thickly coated, and very opaque. It’s all in the details, my friends. These fully-coated nuts provide the sweetest crunch with a nice mouth-feel.

So if you’re a visitor, please give them a try! You’ll think they’re just okay at the first bite. Then you’ll reach into the little bag for another bite. By the end of the bag, I can virtually guarantee you’ll be addicted. If you’re a New Yorker, you have no excuse not to have tried them. Don’t feel ashamed! You’ll soon be nuts 4 nuts too.



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