Cognitive Daily

Last weekend Nora and I went on a hike in the Smoky Mountains. Whenever we go hiking, we make trail mix — usually just cashews and raisins. This time, however, we had some mixed nuts left over from a party so we decided to use those instead.

But there’s a problem with mixed nuts: invariably there are too many of the nuts you don’t like, and not enough of the ones you do like. Since we had plenty of time to think as we hiked along, Nora and I wondered if it was even possible to create a mixture of nuts that would satisfy everyone. Do the nut manufacturers attempt to do this? Or do they just fill their nut-jars with the cheapest nuts, tossing in a few of the more expensive varieties just to keep people interested?

This, we decided, would be a great question for a Casual Friday. We’ll collect reader preferences about their favorite types of nuts, then next week we’ll compare our survey results to the actual distribution of nuts in a couple of major brands. With any luck, we’ll be able to find out just how different the ultimate nut mixture is from what you can buy at your local supermarket!

Click Here to participate

This week’s study is very short — just six questions that should take only a minute or two to answer. You’ll have until Thursday, June 19, to answer. There is no limit on the number of responses. Don’t forget to check in next week to see the results!

Note: We’ve changed survey providers, so please let us know in the comments if you have any problems with the new survey engine. Thanks!


  1. #1 Dunc
    June 13, 2008

    I’m afraid I was totally spoilt by spending 8 months living on a macadamia farm…

  2. #2 Dave Munger
    June 13, 2008

    So… after 8 months on a macadamia farm, do macadamias taste better, or do you just get sick of them?

  3. #3 Jonah
    June 13, 2008

    Brilliant idea! I’ve long believed that nobody actually likes brazil nuts…Now I get to find out if I’m right!

  4. #4 Becca
    June 13, 2008

    I like brazil nuts, but not as much as most other nuts.

    Have you seen the Planter’s “X lovers” series of mixed nuts?
    They’ve got one for macademia, one for pecan, one for cashew, and one for pistasio ( They cost a lot, but it’s so worth it to have only the yummiest nuts.

  5. #5 chezjake
    June 13, 2008

    I never buy commercial blends of mixed nuts. And the best nuts *evah* are butternuts, which are not available commercially because their natural oil content is so high they tend to go rancid if not eaten fairly soon after harvest.

    The party snacks question leaves out the most important option — having small portions of many things. Variety *is* the spice of life.

  6. #6 Tony Jeremiah
    June 13, 2008

    Ah nuts. So not about OCD/ADHD comorbidity then. Never mind. Carry on.

  7. #7 TheNerd
    June 13, 2008

    I just have to say, I LOVE Casual Friday surveys. It’s primarly why I read this blog. This nutty survey only makes me love it even more.

  8. #8 Nadia Sheikh
    June 13, 2008

    I would imagine that they would package mixed nuts with profit in mind – which a large proportion of cheaper nuts and a high proportion of more expensive nuts. An interesting side line investigation would be to see if percentage of nut type has a negative correlation with price of the nut.

  9. #9 Nadia Sheikh
    June 13, 2008

    Sorry I meant low proportion of expensive nuts

  10. #10 Tess
    June 13, 2008

    Cashews and roasted, salted almonds, pumpkin seeds and macadamias. Do they make a blend of just those? I tend to stick to just one kind at a time…..I don’t think they can please everyone.

  11. #11 Jenny
    June 13, 2008

    That’s why “mixed nuts” is mostly peanuts, unless you specifically get the kind that says it’s “less than 50% peanuts.” Even so, 49% peanuts is an awful lot of peanuts.

  12. #12 Will
    June 13, 2008

    Funny, there’s a couple of episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David and David Schwimmer muse about the same problem. He laughs at a “cashew and raisin” mix that has predominantly raisins with only four cashews.

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