Word of the Day / Botnim Amerikaim

Americans may think of their peanuts as the salty, roasted kind that come doubled up in a brown shell and hawked at baseball games, but in Israel "American peanuts" bear no relation to their yankee cousins.

It's one thing to acknowledge that soft-serve ice cream (glida amerikait) and multiple-choice tests (mivhanim amerika'im) are uniquely associated with the United States in the minds of Hebrew-speakers: Both of these are pretty common in America. That's not the case for botnim amerikaim - "American peanuts" - a misnomer if ever there was one. If you're not familiar with these innocent roasted peanuts encased in a tooth-chipping, salty-sweet, peanut-colored hard shell made mostly of flour, it might be because they don't come from their namesake country. They made aliyah to Israel more than 30 years ago, taking a roundabout route like many olim. Turns out these savory morsels are a popular beer snack in Mexico, where they are actually known as "Japanese peanuts," a name that has followed them northward in recent years to the United States. But don't confuse them with kabukim, their kinder and more gentle-on-the-jaw cousin.

Shoshana Kordova will resume enlightening and entertaining Word of the Day readers on October 9.