Friday, February 09, 2007

Boiled Peanuts At The Grocery Store. Is Nothing Sacred?

You may have caught on to the fact that I love the south and especially a certain peninsula. Part of that love is an appreciation of foods I think of as inherently southern. Blogging (you) have taught me that some things I thought of as "southern" ... like putting peanuts in your Coke, are actually more "rural" than southern.
I think it's safe to say that boiled peanuts are a southern thang. I know we are all blending into a happy "one world" boring sameness, but for we holdouts, the boiled peanut is as much a symbol of the south as magnolias, dark water, and armadillos. Not only that, but good boiled peanuts were always something you either made yourself or bought from the roadside guys with their propane burners and huge pots of hot, salty peanuts.
Oh, there were canned boiled peanuts in the stores, but they were a sad substitute for the real thing.
That changed for me this week and I'm not sure I like it.
Mrs. FC brought home a big bag of boiled peanuts from the Publix grocery store a few days ago.
The label said, SC Johnson ... the floorwax company is making boiled peanuts??
"Try these," she said, " You won't believe how good they are."
She was right, I didn't.
I tried one.
I tried another, then I tried about 30 just to be sure.
Later, I went back and tried a few more ... trust, but verify.
Okay, they're great. They're uniformly big, full fleshed, and perfectly moistly salty.
Aha! I bet they are full of preservatives!
Peanuts, Salt, Water ... same as my home made ones and darn it, just as good.
It was still bothersome to think of a giant corporation taking over such a good southern traditional food.
Not that boiled peanut making is rocket science or anything. Can you boil water? Can you add alot of salt to it? Can you dump in fresh "green" peanuts and let them boil and soak for a few hours?
That's it.
The fine print on the bag says they're a product of Hardy Farms in Hawkinsville, Georgia.
I was afraid they were being made in NEW YORK CITY.
(Coincidently, there's a shipwreck in the Suwannee near here called, "The City Of Hawkinsville")
I have a lot of happy memories associated with boiled peanuts, but my favorite is of Emma when she was about 4 or 5. We were somewhere and a friend offered her a boiled peanut. She worked and worked, and finally asked me, " Daddy, will you unzipper it for me?"
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SophieMae said...

DAWG! My fatal weakness! Bald peanuts! Gotta go find some!




Lightnin said...

FC-Do you realize you created a boiled peanut monster the first time we came to visit you guys? Thunder's favorite way to cook them is with a couple of bags of old bay shrimp/crawfish boil! Yummy, makes 'em nice and spicey!

Alan said...

Boiled peanuts are one of those things that seperates the real Southerners from the poseurs.

Now, how bout sharing them things!


vicki said...

Laaaw-ry, the yard help from Tennesee, brought me about a pound of these from his mother the other day (she makes and sends them to him 5 pounds at a time). It was the first time I ever had them. My plans to not put on my cold weather weight by being warm this winter have fallen by the roadside, between the 4th Street Shrimp Store and boiled peanuts. To complicate matters they sell Cheez Waffies down here, too.

SophieMae said...

Well, at least Publix is still, so far, strictly southern. I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around their being anywhere but FL. Oh, and those canned things are pitiful. I always buy from the roadside guys, coz if I make them at home, I eat myself sick. 8-}

Deb said...

The Hermit is quite a fan of boiled peanuts; he acquired the taste from his South Carolina native mom and their visits to his grandma's place. I've had them, but I guess I'm too Northern to appreciate them. :)

Floridacracker said...

Nothing else will do when you need boiled peanuts!

Spicy is common down here, but I'm a purist and prefer em just salty.

I hear they boil fish up north. shudder.
We got it good down here.

Cheese Waffies ???

More for us!!

misti said...

This Texas girl's first time with boiled peanuts were stopping at a road side stand in Alabama on our first trip to Florida. Ever since I've been hooked! Every now and then I find them in convenience stores in Central and North Florida or in the sugar plantation area of the Everglades.

I've gotta say, though, I'd never heard of peanuts in your Coke until a few weeks ago when I was reading a book and they said something. I don't even think in rural parts of Texas that occurs, but Texas is a whole other country.

Floridacracker said...

Welcome to Pure Florida!
Well, you have to try the peanut coke thing. It's delicious. Two requirements:
1)A real coke in a real glass bottle.
2)Use the plain ol' salty peanuts in the little bags. No fancy dry roasted flavored stuff.

I need a Coke.

Hurricane Teen said...

AHHH! FC, I'M EATING THE EXACT SAME BRAND FROM THE SAME STORE!! Ha ha, we god the hot and spicy kind, but I really don't like it as much as the reglar ol' salty kind. I will say it's still not quite the same as homemade or from a roadside stand, but I will say the taste it pretty much the same. Oh boy, lots of good memories attached to those things.

Floridacracker said...

Don't get any shells in your keyboard :)

Laura said...

blast, they don't sell them at the Publix down here! It's got to be a regional thing. First time I ever had boiled peanuts was out in Hawthorne at a stand on 301. Boy were they ever good. I was hooked for life. the old guy said he added beer to the mixture when boiling it up. He looked like he'd had a few beers, too. lol

Speaking of southern food, I made hoppin john and cornbread for dinner tonight. yummmm

Floridacracker said...

Oh boy, I love hoppin john and cornbread!

kathy a said...

i like lots of southern food -- you can't get hoppin john or hush puppies or an oyster roast or grits or red beans and rice much around here -- but bawld peanuts never did it for me.

threecollie said...

I am so jealous. You can't even get green peanuts up here, let alone boiled one. Maybe that is why all those tourists visit down there and decide to stay....boiled peanuts!

Floridacracker said...

Kathy A,
Probably no Savannah (Charleston) red rice or low country boil either.

Don't fret, they may be coming soon to a grocery store near you ... in the novelty food section.

pissed off patricia said...

Bummer! I checked our Publix today and no luck. Must be an area thing.

Floridacracker said...

To quote a weiner,"I feel your pain."

The MacBean Gene said...

I used to get boiled peanuts from some guy on the south side of St. Pete. He had a gas cooker in front of an abandoned sevice station and you never knew what you would find in the bag, bits of hot peppers and onion and such. One time I found a bone from pork ribs. Like all foods Southern there probably as many ways to boil peanuts as peanut boilers. Guess you know what I'll be doing tomorrow.
By the way, has Mrs. FC adjusted to the fact the she is going to have to root for the Bulls?

Floridacracker said...

She's able to multitask pretty well. She doesn't do FSU or FAU and woe be unto anyone who challenges her Gators.
I just shake my head in awe ...