When I was a kid mom used to make pecan pies as a special treat. In those days we called them Karo nut pies because Karo syrup was used in the recipe. That was about the only place Karo syrup was used. It wasn’t very good on pancakes, or a buttered biscuit where sorghum molasses heated and poured on was preferred.
Making Karo nut pies was a big deal. The syrup was store-bought and because of sugar rationing during the war, was in short supply. The nuts had to be cracked and the goodies picked out. Pecans were used most often but black walnuts or even hickory nuts could be used. Even as a kid I helped with the nut cracking and goodie picking. We would sit under a shade tree and crack the nuts with a claw hammer on a big flat rock. I had to crack a lot of nuts because I ate about every other goodie. I remember that when we were cracking walnuts our hands would be stained black and look dirty for about a week afterwards. The pies made with walnuts were especially good but for digestive reasons you shouldn’t eat but one piece.
Years later during Navy boot camp, a bunch of us were sitting around talking about what we missed from back home, I mentioned that I sure would enjoy a big slice of Karo nut pie. A recruit from New Jersey asked, “What’s a Karo nut?”
There were giggles from some of my Arkansas buddies. Then one of them said “they’re nuts that come from Karo trees.”
“I never heard of a Karo tree,” he said.
“That’s understandable; they only grow on the side of the mountains in Arkansas.” The buddy responded. The others nodded in agreement and no one laughed.
I have a habit of looking at license plates as I drive about and especially on trips. When I see a car with New Jersey plates I always smile and wonder if the occupants have ever heard of a Karo tree. –CP
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” –Anonymous