Beautiful Ohio: Day 1 – Whazz a Buckeye, anyway?

My husband and I went to see Phillips, Craig and Dean (yes, I know about their beliefs now, but I didn’t then).  Randy Phillips, one of the group, said: “We didn’t know what a Buckeye was, so we looked it up.  Do you know what y’all are sayin’ about yourselves?”

A buckeye is a nut, (Aesculus glabra).  If you’ve never seen one, they look like this:

It’s that pale center that may have gotten it associated with Ohio. If you squint slightly as you look at the nut straight on, you might imagine you see an “O”. It’s also possible that the association had to do with a charming ditty that was written for President William Henry Harrison in 1824.  Your choice — either is likely to be true.  Buckeyes are slightly poisonous, unless you bleach them (like acorns).  Native Americans did that, they used the tannic acid that’s excreted to cure hides and the nut that remained was mashed into a food they called “hetuck” (the eye of the buck). Buckeyes are also considered to be good luck charms.  I’m guessing that started with Ohio State’s football team. 🙂

Of course, The Ohio State University’s sports teams are known as Buckeyes and their mascot is Brutus Buckeye.

Brutus Buckeye

Brutus Buckeye, mascot of The Ohio State University

Finally, the last thing to know about Buckeyes is that they’re extremely yummy.  Observant readers will ask “Didn’t you just say they’re slightly poisonous?”  Ah, but that’s the tree-grown variety.  There are also these buckeyes:

Buckeyes (the candy)

Buckeyes (the candy)

These buckeyes are made from peanut butter and chocolate and are very popular in these parts (probably in your part, too, providing you’re not allergic to peanuts). Here is a recipe you can try (if you poke around on Google, you can also find variants which use peanut substitutes).

Now, the next time you hear “buckeyes” applied to residents of Ohio (or their sports teams) and someone wonders why, you can amaze your friends with all this helpful information. 🙂

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