Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'd make a pretty crap Southerner.

Last week I went to Carolina Beach for my work retreat. I drove out there with two of my friends from work. G is a relatively recent transplant from Canada, D is from Iowa, but his wife is from South Carolina. G asked about boiled peanuts, because you see signs on the highway for them a lot. I've never had boiled peanuts, and neither had he. D, being married to a Southerner, has had them and tried to describe them to us. And they did not sound good. We had to stop to get gas and there was a guy selling peanuts and stuff out of a little trailer at the gas station, so D bought us some boiled peanuts to try. I bought some regular peanuts in case they were nasty and we needed to get the taste out of our mouths.

If you've never been so "fortunate" to come across boiled peanuts, here is a picture I took of them:

They look slimy, and thats because they are. Wet and cold. Actually, D said that when he had had them previously they were served hot. These had crystals of some sort on them, either ice (ew) or salt (I love salt but... ew).
They look kind of normal on the inside, but instead of being dry and crunchy looking, they look like a wet dog.

I wish I had taken a picture of me eating a boiled peanut. D's analysis that they tasted a bit like beans was right on. It was like eating cold, slimy, al dente kidney beans out of cold slimy little cases. I don't think G or I will be picking up any more boiled peanuts.

Also, they were totally not what I expected. I don't know, I expected them to be green for some reason, don't ask me why. And I also didn't expect them to be in their shells. I think I was picturing another thing that, I don't know, but I think might also be Southern because I have never seen it before: wet walnuts. I've never had them, but they are a topping or mix-in you can choose at our local frozen custard place. Yet another reason why NC frozen custard is a little bit off. I guess I thought those were boiled. The guy in the trailer was selling those too - wet peanuts or something - in little containers and I thought thats what the boiled peanuts were going to be. You can imagine my shock when D whipped out the plastic bag full of slimy, cold, wet peanut shells.

At my retreat we were subjected to another strange Southern thing, sweet tea. Actually, thats not revolting like the boiled peanuts were, but I'm still not a huge fan. It tastes good but is a lot sweeter than I like my iced tea to be.

This past weekend we went to the local Farmers' Market with D and his wife K. I saw some purple hull peas, which I see every week when I go to the Farmers' Market but I never know what to do with. But I asked her what to do with them, and she said she usually serves them with rice. I decided to cook them with onion, garlic, carrot, celery and tomatoes and some herbs and served them with rice, a la K-dog. They weren't bad, actually, especially when I covered the whole thing in hot sauce.

Another friend from work (an Indian friend) gave me some ideas of what to do with them to make indian peas. They're essentially black-eyed peas, which I've had in indian before. So I might try that next. They were a good compromise between Brian and I because he likes peas (he's English, what do you expect?) and I hate them. These actually had a slight pea taste, but not enough that they made me want to hurl.


Keith O said...

I think that I might be a little more disturbed by the idea of wet walnuts than boiled penuts.

However, sweet tea is great.

Special K said...

I too enjoy sweet tea. I had boiled peanuts before, and they are just as you described...cold and slimy. One other thing I love that we just don't have here in the north is deep fried pickles. O.K., I'm a fan of nearly anything deep fried, but those are good!

Adrienne said...

If they were truly southern, they would have been boiled 'P-NUTS'. However, I too think they are gross because they are chewy instead of crunchy. Kind of halfway to peanut butter. Yick. And you can always tell when you're in the South because sweet tea becomes an option.

Emily said...

I am NOT a Southerner, and I categorically refuse to eat their food, no matter how long I live here - no sweet tea, no fried okra, no Bojangles, and no boiled peanuts. I eat peCAHN chicken, not PEEcan chicken. I'm very particular about my food principles.

Karl Broman said...

The name, "boiled peanuts", should have been sufficient information. If they had said "fried peanuts", that would be something to eat.

Peas on the other hand...your dislike of peas likely derives from poor preparation (eg, the mushy peas that they serve in England). Have you tried really fresh sweet peas (either raw or lightly steamed)? You can't not like them. While you can't beat fresh, frozen peas are a miracle. Try steaming them for 5 minutes.

Matt Olson said...

Lisa, I'm right there with you on the boiled peanuts thing. I described them to my students as tasting like smelly feet. They found that to be quite funny. Nasty, nasty food. I've had my last. They can keep that and the sweet tea. You're hip to the "meat and three" restaurants, too, right?

Adrienne said...

emily: the only time someone should say PEEcan is when they are talking about pie. Southern people 'chicken fry' everything, so peCAHN chicken is too fancy.

turducken said...

Sweet tea really depends on how they make it. The cheap restaurant way is with corn syrup, which is no good. It actually has to be sugar.

However, there is no way to make boiled peanuts not digusting.

peppersnaps said...

I've never had boiled peanuts either, despite my living in the south for over 12 years. Now I never will.

And, I'm right there with you on the sweet tea. I usually go about 4/5 unsweet, and 1/5 sweet. Approximately. :)