Want a taste, little girl?

All I wanted was sesame sticks out of the bulk bin. Not even garlic sesame sticks, or curry cashews, or anything more complicated. Just plain, old sesame sticks.

But these two elderly women were in my way, fussing around each other at the Co-op’s bulk bins, making soft grunting noises as they each searched for the key items they were looking for.

One of them stopped, lifted up a plastic container off the shelf between the upper and lower set of bins. I’d seen those containers. There were maybe 15 or 20 of them, arranged at random along the wall of bulk items. I’d seen the label. I’d rolled my eyes and set them down.

Black Walnuts (Local).

Black walnuts?” one of the women said.

“Oh, yes,” said the other. “They’re very good. Some people don’t like the taste, but I do. I do very much.”

“I’ve never heard of black walnuts,” said the first woman.

“They’re local,” said the second woman. “They only grow around here. Very special.”

The first woman held a container up to the light, peering in at the pieces through the clear plastic. “Very special?” she asked. “I’ve never heard of them.”

I hovered around the sesame sticks, waiting until they left. Then I looked over each shoulder, just in case anyone was watching.

Then I slid one of the containers in my basket and headed for the cashier.

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4 Responses to “Want a taste, little girl?”


  1. 1 Sally December 5, 2006 at 4:51 am

    How could ANYONE living in Iowa NOT have heard of black walnuts! Sheesh. I much prefer them in cooking but they’re hard to take eaten out-of-hand. This town is full to the brim with walnut trees. Why anyone would actually plant one of those in their yard is a mystery since they’re a very dirty tree. Sorry you had to learn about their toxicity the hard way. But – there’s always next year…right?! Good blog you’ve got here. I enjoy reading it.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener December 5, 2006 at 5:43 am

    Sally, you know, if I hadn’t planted the garden, I would have never known what that tree was in our yard! They are brutal trees, but they’re quite beautiful, I think. Other than our difference in opinion about what plants should go underneath it, the tree in our yard and I have quite a friendly relationship. Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

  3. 3 Trey December 5, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    Black walnuts are used as rootstock for many English Walnuts. English walnuts are the ones we see in the store. I had never eaten a black walnut. A customer came in a few weeks ago saying how tasty black walnuts we’re. I told her that we don’t sell them as they are considered a lesser fruit than the English walnut. A lesser fruit? So she brought in some for me to taste. They are good. They have a different flavor than the English.

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener December 5, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    Trey, I didn’t realize that info about the rootstock — interesting stuff! I’m planning to use mine in chocolate chip cookies, I think, but am not sure when I’ll try that…


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