From the American Scene: Memoirs of a Pumpkin-Seed Peddler
During the early 1930s, my brother and I contributed considerably to the litter of Crotona Park. But we also satisfied a deep-seated need of several thousand Bronxites, for in those lean years we supplied the means for long sessions of noshing at very nominal cost (nosh: a nibble, a snack). We were pumpkin-seed (semichkes) peddlers.
We also sold polly seeds and indian nuts, but our main item was pumpkin seeds. We began our career with them and they remained, even after we added refinements, our best seller.
Pumpkin seeds and polly seeds, I’m given to understand, were (and perhaps in some places remain) delicacies among East European Jews. “On Saturdays, after tea,” my mother-in-law tells me, “we used to sit in a circle and split the shells and spit them out until we were knee-deep in them.”
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