While having dinner with some friends this week they told us of their trip to Florida to visit family. They took the extended scenic route through eastern Tennessee and down into the Smokey Mountains. They spoke of scenery that was breathtaking, and moments that no picture could truly capture. They traveled through Georgia and down into the historic south. But then they spoke of stopping into filling stations along the route and finding crock pots full of boiled peanuts. I love southern cooking so I leaned in with interest to hear the story. After all the south is full of good food, right? Before our friends spoke of boiled peanutes I had never heard of this. But as the story progressed I knew living in darkness on this matter was just fine. They were able to frame the look and taste of this food so even a northern guy like me could know it was not something I would want to be near.
They spoke of tough slimy-like shells that had been thrown in whole to the crock pot where they were allowed to cook for hours. Customers down south ladle the nuts and shells into a styrofoam cup and then the object is to eat it. All of it. This is something that folks rave about in the south. Our friends found the food wholly unpleasant. Who ever would think of cooking a peanut shell? Worse, eat them! We were informed there was no flavor at all, just a very unpleasant texture to the bad memory.
I perhaps am being too harsh about this food, as many seem to love it. After all, it is the official state snack food of South Carolina. I have to believe there is a recipe that some are using to make it go down easier than how it was served in the gas stations. One can only hope they have made a microwave version…….can you even image?