I just returned from a quick trip to Cape May, New Jersey on a perfect day that was part summer, part fall. Clear light blue skies, warm sun, a touch of coolness in the air, fewer tourists than before Labor Day, and lots and lots of nuts. The Jersey Shore has always had dozens of candy shops, mom and pop stores on small town boardwalks that sell countless flavors of salt water taffy and fudge. The little pieces of pale hued taffy are wrapped in white waxed paper and twisted at the ends, the fudge is displayed in hefty slabs, cut and sold by the ounce. But in the three stores that I popped in to, displays of nuts rivaled the taffy and fudge, nearly every one of our 16 favorites piled high behind the glass barriers, side by side with the sweet treats.
Salt water taffy has a long history as a seaside delicacy, although the name is misleading. There is neither salt nor water in most any of the flavored morsels. Legends about the confection date from over 100 years ago, with origins in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is hard to tell when nuts and seeds joined the sweets in the boardwalk shops. Nuts are a perfect snack. They may not have the long history of taffy and fudge in these shops, but i think they are just if not more appealing. And they may not have their roots along the Jersey Shore, but to me, those beautiful, breezy beaches are a great place to snack on them.