Part of it is how good they taste, and, probably, an even bigger part of it is childhood memories.
At about $900.00 a pound (OK, maybe only $9) you can see why mom and dad could only afford them once a year.
And boy did we look forward to them.
Mom usually boiled them, and we would open them and have them with just a little salt.
It didn't matter if you burned your fingers a little trying to get them open.
When I started working in the produce department of a local grocery store I was able to be very selective in my pickings, being responsible, after all, for wrapping and weighing them.
But they were still like $900.00 a pound (OK, maybe only $9).
Well, my brother has a couple of real nice Chestnut trees in his back yard, and over the last few years he has been having very plentiful crops.
If you don't mind wearing gloves and heavy boots the effort of gathering them has big rewards.
We usually roll them over with our feet after they have fallen to break the outside spinney husk off. Then pull them out with our gloved hands and place them in a basket.
This year, the ones we can't eat right away, (because there are to many), are being boiled, peeled and placed in the freezer by mom so we can enjoy them all winter.
Also, if you want to read a really enjoyable book that centers around our lost American Chestnut trees (yes folks, most of the ones we enjoy are Chinese Chestnuts) and rural lands, I would highly recommend Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. A great read, even if you don't like Chestnuts.