Kernut? What the heck is a ‘kernut’?

Popcorn and Kernel

Popcorn and Kernel, NOT a Kernut.

When I was little, I loved (and still do) currants, those small, raisin-like dried berries. But I couldn’t say “currants” so I called them “kernuts”.

What an adorable, and apparently none-too-bright, child.

But wait, there’s more. Not too many years later, my father invented a wonderful, humorous, and on-going bedtime story for my sister and I. He needed names for the characters representing our alter-egos and I’ll bet you can guess what MY pseudonym was. Yup, Kernut.

You chuckle, sure, but guess what my sister’s pseudonym was? Chickenbone. So named because she loved chicken and was once-too-often seen gnawing on a chicken bone.

Kernut doesn’t seem so silly now, does it? Yes, we both need therapy.

“The Adventures of Chickenbone and Kernut”, the title of my father’s bedtime saga, included a host of other characters: The Six-dollar and Ninety-nine Cent Man (If you are over 35 then you know to whom this is in reference. He was made from old Barbie parts.), Splat (for the pony my sister always wanted), and Potion (a highly intelligent guinea pig). The adventures were largely heroic in nature, included time-travel, treasure hunting, and lots of sweets. It was all of our best childhood fantasies in a story about “us”.

Chickenbone, Kernut, and the gang always celebrated the end of each adventure with massive sundaes (not in real life, just in the story). Yet, I continue to wonder where my insatiable sweet-tooth comes from. (Note to my readers: It’s probably not a good idea to include massive sugar fests in a bedtime story to your kids now or they may need to join a 12-step program later. Just sayin’.)

My father is a master story teller; he kept us in suspense the whole time, and illustrated the adventure of the evening with stick drawings on a note pad. We were hooked, and it is a fond childhood memory for both of us.

While I made up the word by mispronouncing ‘currant’ as a kid, my father assures me to this day, this is a REAL word. He claims a kernut is a half-popped popcorn kernel. You know – those little half-popped bits of popcorn at the bottom of the bowl that you will eat the white tops off of when desperate for the last little taste of popcorn. Admit it, you’ve done this, too.

To verify ‘kernut’ is a word, I have searched,, the internet in general, and my 30-pound (no lie) Miriam-Webster’s Unabridged International Dictionary.

There is no word ‘kernut’ in any dictionary. Apparently, this making up of words runs in the family.