Monday, November 19, 2007

A Tough Nut אַ האַרטע נוס

Cracking black walnuts: Image from John Sankey

אױ כאָרע! איך האָב שױן צוגעזאָגט צװײ לײענער אַז איכל מאַכן אַ פּײַ פֿון הײמישע שװאַרצע װעלטשענע ניס, אָבער דאָס איז געװען אײדער איך האָב פּראָבירט זײ עפֿענען. נעמען אַראָפּ די װײכע דרױסנדיקע שאָלעכץ איז שױן אײן מאָל אַ מלכה, אָבער די האַרטע נוסשאָל האָב איך נישט געקאָנט אַפֿילו אײַנקאַרבן נאָך צװאַנציק קלעפּ מיטן שװערסטן האַמער אין שטוב. ערשט נאָך דעם האָב אױסגעגאָגלט אַ ביסל אינפֿאָרמאַציע װעגן שװאַרצע װעלטשענע ניס. זײ זענען טאַקע האַרט, דאַכט זיך מיר. דאָ האָב איך געלײענט אַז די שאָלעכץ פֿון שװאַרצע װעלטשענע ניס זענען אַזױ האַרט, אַז מע נוצט זײ װי אינדוסטריעלע זאַמד אױסצושיסן מעטאַל און אַנדערע זאַכן. די ניס זענען באמת האַרטער װי אַ סך זאַכן װאָס זענען אױף ייִדיש משלים פֿון האַרטקײט.

Bless my soul! I had already promised two readers that I was planning to make walnut pies from some home-grown black walnuts, but that was before I tried breaking them. Removing the sticky, smelly husks is difficult enough, but I could make no impression on the inner shells, even with twenty blows from my heaviest hammer. Regular nutcrackers are right out. Perhaps I should have read this first.

Black walnut shells are one of the toughest organic substances known, so hard, in fact, that they are industrially ground and used in place of sand to air blast metal, marble, glass and other substances.

They are in fact much harder than many of the substances we use in Yiddish as examples of hardness.

האַרט מױער אײַזן
Hard wall iron

האַרט װי אײַזן
Hard as iron

װי שטאָל
As steel

װי שטײן
As stone

װי מירמלשטײן
As marble

װי קיזלשטײן
As silica

װי בײן
As bone

װי אַ ציגל
As a brick

װי אַ פּאָדעשװע
As a sole (of a shoe)

װי יוכט
As cowhide

װײך װי אַ לײמענער דישעל
Soft as a clay diszel (driving thill)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many years ago, I was given a bag of macadamia nuts in the shell. They were virtually inpenetrable. In the end, we found a bit of cut off metal pipe sticking out of the ground in the backyard.

We set each nut on top of it,one by one, and hit them with a metal mallet. Then we gathered the bits out of the grass, dusted them off, and proceeded to eat and cook with them.

I'm not sure our lucky pipe could be duplicated-who knows where it was coming from. or connected to- but the round, hollow metal support was good- as was the outdoor setting- re mess. I'm sure we lost a lot of the smaller bits, though.

Also, we laughed so hard we were almost too weak to follow through.

11:11 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...


I can't reproduce your lucky pipe or outdoor setting--possibly the super might let me use the alley behind our building if I had a compelling reason.
This year I got the laughter without the nuts--still a valuable experience.

I am still hoping to have another go at the black walnuts next year.

11:50 AM  

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