As most of you are aware, I was born and raised in the North. Not a lot of roadside stands selling Georgia peaches, gator jerky, or tangerines, and definitely nobody selling boiled peanuts. In fact, until we moved to Florida, I’d never even heard of a boiled peanut.
In the North we roast our peanuts and sell them at baseball games. We do not eat, suck on, slurp, or in any other way ingest the shells. We open the shells and throw them on the ground where they belong. The nut inside is hard and slightly salty…it is crunchy and delicious. I remember being in New York City during the Christmas holidays and roasted chestnuts sold by vendors. These are the nuts I remember. These are the nuts of my youth. There are a few family members that would also fall into this category, but that’s another post.
Once we moved to Florida, and I had been here for a little while, I had decided two things; I was never going to eat pulled pork because it just looked gross, and I was never, ever going to eat a boiled peanut.
After seventeen years, I tried pulled pork because I could hear my Mom telling me I wasn’t allowed to say I didn’t like something until I tried it at least once and it was served at my daughter’s wedding reception. I’m glad I listened to Mom. I now make and enjoy pulled pork and pulled chicken. Once you get past the looks of it, it’s very tasty.
Not so much the boiled peanuts…
My friend Rowena and I once had a joint birthday venture and took a little road trip to Georgia (a la ‘Thelma and Louise’) to visit our friend Cindy. I crossed a few things off my bucket list on that trip. It was my first road trip with a girlfriend. I went for a ride in a red convertible sports car. I shot a gun. We visited an apple farm. I’d done this one before, but not in the South. Who knew that apple trees grow in Georgia?
We had a great time! While at the apple farm, the decision was made that we should get a container of boiled peanuts and some fresh-squeezed lemonade. I would have been happier with a cup of tea and a cookie, but when in Rome or, in this case, Georgia…
It was here that I made my fatal mistake. I informed my friends that I had never eaten a boiled peanut. They coerced me until I agreed to try one. I thought how bad could it be, after all I liked the pulled pork and Mom’s words of wisdom were still playing in my brain.
This was the result of my trying. Oh the horror!
I had put a piece of slime in my mouth and they wanted me to suck on this thing, bite down, spit out the shell, and then eat the mushy goober pea inside. I don’t think I got past the shell. I kind of blacked out all memory after feeling the drippy thing in my mouth. It was awful.
However, in defense of this beautiful state I now find myself living in, I would like to say that I’ve discovered that not all nuts in the South are bad. Disney has some delicious cinnamon roasted almonds and pecans that are to die for. They’re warm, dry, crunchy, and delectable. You can smell them long before you can see them which caused me on one occasion to exclaim, “Babe, I smell my nuts!” Funny, but clearly not one of my finer moments. I now quietly sniff for them and try to contain my zeal. Still, if you are ever in Disney, I suggest that you listen to my mother and try them at least once. If not, well, it’s really not that big a deal.
~ I wish you all a Very Blessed, Very Merry Christmas!