Each autumn, I eagerly wait for chestnut season to begin but I'm only privy to the supply at the grocer's. Strangely enough, the first crop to appear in Berkley will be those from Korea. Early last century, Americans had no shortage of state grown chestnuts until a blight wiped out four billion trees from the landscape. My mind cannot really comprehend the staggering number of chestnuts this would have represented- more than enough for humans, pigs, birds, squirrels, and any creature wanting of such sweet nutmeat. Apparently the American chestnut tastes more intense lacking bitterness in the skin. Such a pity then that the American chestnut has not made a comeback and we're forced to rely on the Koreans, Italians and the Chinese to fill this void.
Rarely we roast chestnuts in the fireplace opting to simply steam them and scoop out the nut meat with small spoons. When I was a little girl, my cousins and I used to go chestnut hunting on my grandfather's lands. My younger keener eyes were particularly good at spotting those green prickly bombs. Those lands have long since been converted to condos. Many good things come to an end and we must make new good things to continue on.