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GRUB ON THE ROAD FRIDAY FOOD: Boiled Peanuts - A Misunderstood Treat

"Boiled Peanuts: If you said "Ewwwww", that means more for me." Anon

If you travel the backroads of Georgia and South Carolina, it is inevitable that you'll come across someone along the side of the road selling boiled peanuts.

Now, many, who have never tried this delicious earth candy from the South, cringe at the sound of these words, not knowing the tastiness of which they are missing. I'm not sure what image comes to mind for those when they hear the words "boiled peanuts". (And by the way, the correct pronunciation is "boilt peanuts") A mushy peanut, on the surface, doesn't sound appealing, but the first person ever to try a raw oyster had to get over some things there, didn't they? Trust me, take a breath and try them. More on that in a second,

Others, who say they've tried them, have surely not had them prepared properly. They likely have tried them from a gas station where some poor underpaid soul had to throw them together before sweeping the floor or cleaning the toilet or selling a lottery ticket or signing the beer man's invoice. No. Making boiled peanuts is an art form that cannot be done by just anyone. The only thing worse than gas station boiled peanuts are getting them from a can. Gross! I wouldn't eat them again either, if these were my only exposure to boiled peanuts. In fact, this is an abomination unto the Lord, which must be expelled from the community.

First of all, boiled peanuts are for anyone, not just Southerners. My dear wife, Debbie, was born and raised in Southern California. At the age of 32, this strawberry, golden-haired girl of mine moved to Cairo, Georgia with me. Whether it was hormones from her pregnancy, or they were just that good, she had a craving for these little delights that has yet to subside. She and a friend would ride up to the local farmer's market and scoop up a serving... or two.. eating for two. And therein lies a crucial point.

Debbie Parker and her stash of boiled peanuts

If you are getting boiled peanuts, get them from a roadside stand or farmer's market- a Georgia roadside works best, I am a Georgia native, so I might be prejudiced - where you can see the pot in which it is boiling. The heavier the pot, the better. You also want to get them close to an actual peanut farm, as people know that farm-to-table is always preferable. If the word is spelled "boild", your chance of getting a tasty legume has pretty high odds. Also, if your peanut man is missing teeth, trust me, get the peanuts. If he is smoking while cooking them, even better. I don't know why, they just taste better.

Mikey's Hot Boiled Peanuts

Don't get the Cajun stuff. Good boiled peanuts need no help. Let the brine do its thing.

Finally, get them hot, hot, hot and eat them quickly. In fact, you want the stuff that either has to be double bagged because of the heat, or melting a Styrofoam cup. Lukewarm peanuts are past prime and cannot be redeemed, in my opinion. Sure, you can reheat them, but the magic is gone.

Trust me, if you have never tried these tasty little nuggets of pleasure, do yourself a favor and give them a try -- but only from the roadside stand. Please.

Boiled peanuts

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