I wrote about them in my book “Flies on the Butter” and have been a patron of Cromer’s “Worst Peanuts in Town” for as long as I can remember. Boiled peanuts are as deep in southern heritage as the sweet tea article I wrote last week.
I had a friend who lives in Maryland who thought you were supposed to pop the entire shell in your mouth when she had her first boiled peanut, only to provide a mouth full of growing shell and a rather comical experience for those who got to watch her trying to figure out how to get that down. Needless to say, I’m not sure she has added boiled peanuts to her culinary delights.
My earliest childhood memories include boiled peanuts, and honestly one of the best places to find them is on the back roads of South Carolina or Georgia in old country stores, packed in little brown bags in the fridge. They just don’t get any better than that.
But boiled peanuts are that comfort kind of food that brings to mind the sweetest things of your past. So here are a few things you might not know about the southern delight.
- They arrived in the Low Country (Charleston) sometime in the 18th century via slave ships. Having made their way from South America-to Portuguese-to Africa around 1500.
- They were originally called ground-nuts, ground peas, and goobers.
- By 1903 They began popping up in the Society pages of the South Carolina newspapers.
- Fashionable during that season to serve at weddings and parties in the smaller cities that dotted the South Carolina countryside.
- By 1913 they arrived in Macon, GA.
- By 1918 they had arrived in Tampa, FL
- In 2006 the South Carolina State Legislature (Yep, those folks must stay hungry) declared them South Carolina’s official snack food. www.charlestoncitypaper.com
So, question for you. Have you ever had them? Do you remember the first time you did? Do you like them cold or hot? If you haven’t, when are you going to buck up and try em!