In days of old, once upon a time, over the river and through the woods, an eon ago, you know, back when I was a kid, there was an Italian deli. It was on Main Street and it had sawdust on the floor. Its fragrant stock included wheels of Parmesan, tubs of olives and giardiniera, enormous wax covered provolone hanging from the ceiling, sturdy little cacciatorini, seeded semolina breads. Exotic but not, for it was the stuff of childhood. For cocktail party nibbles, my parents would buy cecis and favas - roasted salted chickpeas and fava beans - the cecis crumbly to the tooth, the favas requiring a good snap of your back jaw. The juxtaposition of textures chalky and smooth in that bowl of salted mixed not-nuts was what always kept you going back for more.
Recently, I got a pitch from a PR company touting roasted salted chickpeas as new "very unique" snack:
Health Conscious Friends Launch Perfect Crunchy Snack
Cooking "accident inspires new product, Chic-a-peas
I said, sure, send me a sample. But it wasn't until I tasted them that I realized that they really weren't anything new - they were a repackaging of the cecis of my childhood. That's not to say they aren't good - just not new.
Now what I need to do is find some favas to go with the cecis. And throw an old school cocktail party.
Disclaimer: I didn't buy the Chic-a-peas, and I wasn't compensated for writing about them.