Many weeks back, I made the mistake of saying I was inspired by the Groundnut Avataars of a friend on Twitter (He puts up pictures of tiny groundnuts sleeping, thinking, reading etc and you know my weakness for cartoons of any sort) and a huge gang (comprising no less than two people in all) of Mumbaikars got together and threatened me into writing something on groundnuts or getting ready to face the consequences of a mortal life. So, here's my timid and weird essay on groundnuts. Not open to criticism of any sort, mind you. If you want, you can go write a better article on groundnuts or any other nut you may prefer to write about. I've been dilly dallying on this task for too long. Finally seem to be in a mood to talk some groundnut-nonsense. Nevertheless, I am not inclined to put up with any nonsensical comments.
Being a KMer, the first thing I am going to do is to point out what Wikipedia has to say about groundnuts. Here you go - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut
First things first. Groundnuts have a lot of alternative names. Let me help you get this straight, lest you let this article go unnoticed because you've always been referring to groundnuts as something else like Goober Peas or for that matter Arachis Hypogaea. Groundnuts are referred to as Peanuts in the western parts of the world. They are also, amusingly enough, known as monkey nuts and pig nuts. Not sure if that's because monkeys and pigs love them. I, personally, know a lot of nice people who are not monkeys or pigs but who love them. If you don't happen to like any of these names, you can exercise your tongue and refer to groundnuts as Arachis Hypogaea.
Groundnuts have quite hard shells if you've not seen one so far, like that of a fragile Tortoise, I presume. But the pods are relatively softer. Groundnuts can be consumed as is, fried, boiled, sprayed with spices and salts, mixed with nuts from other families, mixed with some Indian rice-based dishes etc. And there's also the popular peanut butter that people in the US seem to be very fond of. This includes a US-based niece of mine. (This niece once even attempted to teach me how to make peanut butter and had her narrative going pretty well when she started off by saying "you need to take one peanut and put it in the grinder - which you can in turn buy from a shop". But then she abruptly stopped on seeing me and a few others giggle. To this day, I regret it and wonder whether I unwittingly crushed a champion chef in her growing years)
Peanut oil and flour are also used in cooking. The top three producers of groundnuts are China, India and USA. Peanuts are known for their nutritious (protein) quality and are even prescribed for children suffering from malnutrition. If you ever happen to think that your body needs niacin, folate, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, manganese and phosphorus, please pop in a few peanuts. Peanuts are considered high in fat, but according to the Wikipedia, these are good or unsaturated fats. The US is the biggest exporter of peanuts. India and China produce lots of them but eat most of it themselves. Sounds somewhat selfish, what?
Here are some other tidbits that are, I guarantee, of absolutely no value to you.
1. Peanuts remind some people of the number eight. If you don't know how to write the number eight, derive inspiration from peanuts. This also means that peanuts can easily take on a human form. Peanut art is also common in some rural areas. You can do lots with the shells like use it in paintings etc.
2. If you're paid a very meager amount of money for something you sold or services you provided, it may be said that you were paid peanuts. My intelligent guess is that this alludes to the fact that peanuts come real cheap.
3. If you act a little goofy or silly or unintelligent, people may accuse you of being nuts or exhibiting nutty behaviour. These phrases, however, are not attributable only to groundnuts. There are a lot of other nuts that could be held responsible for such behaviour.
4. Groundnuts are sold everywhere - in India. Trains, bus stations, beaches, roads etc. Surprisingly enough, you can buy groundnuts even if all you happen to have in your wallet is Rs.2. Isn't that amazing?
Righto! We're done folks. In a nut shell, groundnuts are a funny, nutritious and time-pass snack (time-pass: Indian term that refers to "killing time"). Hold a few groundnuts in your palm, sit in an undisturbed or busy spot (beach, park etc) and pop in one nut after another on auto-pilot, let your mind wander and be enlightened!
Pic Courtesy: Wikipedia
PS: This is the first ever time I've spent so much time and energy thinking and collecting information about groundnuts since the time I suddenly developed groundnut allergy 3 years back - when I consumed some suspicious-looking fat and sweetened groundnuts in the UK and had itchy skin for a while. Thanks to Wikipedia. Wait, not for the allergy but for the knowledge on groundnuts. For me, this has been a curious journey - from unexpected allergies to hidden Twitter allegories!