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boiled peanuts and Yankees

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I'm curious if there are any Yankees or Non-Southerners that like or have even tried boiled peanuts. In case you don't know they are peanuts boiled in salt water. The best way to eat one is to hold one level, remove the upper half of the shell,and then dump the contents into your mouth, salt water and all. You can find boiled peanut stands on the side of the road throughout the South. The parking lot at Wal-mart is another common place to find them. I don't think we could hold a football game in South Carolina without them. I once had a Northerner to tell me that boiled peanuts were disgusting. So is this a collective Yankee opinion?

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  1. I can't speak for Yankees (or Mets or Red Sox for that matter), but those of who live here in Giants territory (latitude 37.8) or have traveled in Asia are familiar with boiled peanuts as they are are sometimes found as (free) appetizers in Chinese restaurants, most particularly Shanghainese and Taiwanese restaurants. I'd say they are worth the price when they are free but I don't think I would shell out money for them, except in Hong Kong where they make you pay for them (like the tea) whether you eat them or not.

    Link: http://eatingchinese.org/

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup

      I also used to see them occasionally as free snacks at Korean-owned bars in San Francisco. Once you get past the expectation that peanuts are supposed to be a certain way, they can be addictively good. Would I have shelled out money for them? Probably depends on how many drinks I'd had.

      My first encounter, though, was with the Southern kind. A former boss from Charleston used to bring a sack of 'em in to the office sometimes. Most of us liked them (and no, we weren't just kissing up!).

      1. re: squid-kun
        1 wiener hound

        I had always heard there were 3 ways that Charlestonians and Asians were alike:
        1.Both eat rice 3 times a day
        2.Both worship their ancestors
        3.Can't understand either group
        and now
        4. Both eat Boiled Peanuts
        Having been a B&B Southerner of many years I have eaten biled peanuts most of my life. I prefer my cold and after I reached my age of majority with a good cold Beer. I think it has something to do with the heat and humidity. For many years I ate the old standard salted boiled peanuts but then I started seeing flavored peanuts. I was introduced to Cajun flavored B. Peanuts. The sign along side the Road was spelled K-JON. Now, I do love those K-JON style peanuts de hotta de betta

      2. re: Gary Soup

        I bought a jar of peanuts in liquid in an Asian supermarket last week that I assume are boiled.

        I like them.

        The ingredients are: "Soy sauce, peanuts, salt." The label has the single english word "PEANUT" in large letter in front above the Chinese (?) lettering and it is Manufactured by Master Sauce Co., Ltd., Taiwan.

        I found this comment in the "Peanut" entry at the Asian Food Glossary: "Boiled peanuts are a popular snack food across Asia."

        Link: http://www.asiafood.org/glossary_2.cf...

        1. re: James

          Indeed they are, in fact, while I was on a recent trip to Hong Kong, they were featured in almost every chinese restaurant as a table condiment/snacking item. They are less common as such a product back where I live.

      3. I'm a Yankee living in South Florida (originally from Ohio) and when I drive north of Palm Beach, back into "The South" there are boiled peanuts available everywhere. They're not my favorite, but not bad.

        1. I am a Yankee but I do not speak for all Yankees...heh...also living in south (southwest) Florida...2 of our 3 sons (also Yankees) went to Florida State University in Tallahassee and both came back loving boiled peanuts...AND collards, I might add. I love collards now too but I do NOT like boiled peanuts...texture is so alien to me. So, there you have it...we are a house divided on boiled peanuts. By the way, we can buy them here in Naples in some convenience stores!

          1. I'm from the midwest now living in DC. My wife's family is from the south and one time brought up some boiled peanuts which were my first - they were cold and not too appealing. When I was down there and got some fresh out of the kettle they were fabulous - we had to go back and get my wife her own bag.

            I think once you've had them fresh and enjoy them, then cold is passable, but freshness and warmth is key.

            1. I know lots of us northerners who like boiled peanuts. I cook up big batches sometimes for parties. I can buy the raw peanuts in local Asian grocery stores. I had my first taste of them when I lived in GA for a few years.

              1. Love them and miss them.........had them growing up in Savannah, GA during the summertime..love them cold from the fridge, devoured them on Tybee Beach in the 60's and 70's............

                1. fwiw, we maharastrians love them. big treat growing up in bombay.

                  1. I love them. They're one of those things that ends up on the table when you go to a soju bar in Koreatown.

                    1. Maybe 15 years ago this northern boy and his wife were driving down a two lane road in the middle of the state and came across an old converted gas station with what seemed a big pot of 'something' steaming outside, and an elderly, heavy lady sitting there in the shade. The beat-up old sign said Boiled Peanuts, which was brand new to us. The lady was a sweetheart, and proud of her product, and directed us inside to view the newpaper articles she had displayed that were praising her nuts.

                      We asked what they tasted like, and she said some think they taste like this, some think they taste like that. Well, we had to have a pound, which she dipped out of the pot and poured into a used bread wrapper for us. We knew we were seeing something authentic.

                      But, sorry, to us the nuts tasted like.....hot, wet peanuts. We had a few and that was that. The birds at the picnic tables outside Busch Gardens liked them a lot more than we did.

                      So, back again in 2001, another roadside stand, who had some going in a crock pot. Tried them again, and darned if they weren't better than I expected. I spent the rest of the day nibbling at them, and did kill the whole bag. So now am looking forward to the next trip to try them again.

                      By the way, on the first trip we could find them in a can in the supermarkets. I think it was a green label. We brought a half dozen cans home to pass around, and everyone SAID they liked them. Last trip I searched both Publix and Winn, and could not find. Are they still around? No idea what of the brand name.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Spudlover

                        Yes, the can variety are in grocery stores and here is a tip:

                        Dump them (juice and all) in a pot on your stove, add more water and bring to a boil then keep on low on your stove.

                        They aren't quite cooked enough.

                        I think the brand is Roddenberry's boiled peanuts and you can purchase them at Lee Brothers catalog.

                        Basically, they are to expat Charlestonians who moved to NYC and could not find their favorite southern fare and started a mail order business.

                        Link: http://www.boiledpeanuts.com/index2.html

                        1. re: BlueHerons

                          Yes, specifically, the name is Roddenberry's Peanut Patch. "Peanut Patch" is the name you see when you look at the can. "Roddenberry's is in very small type.

                      2. Just to mention, Paul, because you are in South Carolina, another time we were wandering down a two lane road in that state and came across a small town that had the main street blocked off. Turned out to be St George, who was holding the World's Grits Festival. There were more grits than you could shake a ham hock at, and all kinds of contests, for eating grits, cooking grits, even rolling in grits on the back of a flatbed trailer. They were crazy for grits! We enjoyed the parade and there were several churches serving food, so we had lunch with the church ladies, which was great.

                        Everybody was very friendly and welcoming, and we still consider running into that a lucky travel experience. Just wish we could love grits as much as you do down there. I've tried to get into them on other trips to the South, but I need hash browns on my breakfast plate!

                        By the way, I have since seen the World's Grits Festival written up in Smithsonian Magazine.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Spudlover

                          >> They were crazy for grits!

                          Maybe, but then again one only has to stay for a short while in some of these dreary little South Carolina towns to realize how dull and boring life can be. These "festivals" are probably the biggest events of the year for many of the locals.

                          1. re: Jimmy Buffet

                            Oh Jimmy, the way you hate on SC makes you sound so sophisticated. You are my hero.

                          2. re: Spudlover

                            Our Grits Festival is pretty tame compared to the Chitlin Strut Festival we have each year in Salley, SC.
                            Eating those chitlins takes some guts!

                          3. I'm a Hoosier, so I'm right on the north-south borderline and consider myself a Yankee and I love boiled peanuts.

                            I prefer them fresh - we get the peanuts at a local Oriental market - but right now I have a can of Peanut Patch boiled peanuts sitting on a shelf in my pantry, in the event of severe boiled peanut deprivation.

                            1. Love them fresh out of the pot, but haven't had the real thing since a visit to Florida.

                              They are available sometimes at Ranch 99 but they cook theirs with Star Anise.

                              Not bad, but not the real thing.

                              1. Boiled peanuts and grits are both alien to most Yankee tastebuds, and those of us who just flat don't ever want to taste anything we're not used to won't take to either one. I've tried both, and gotta say that while grits became a favorite food the charm of boiled peanuts continues to elude me. They have the same sort of gummy legume-iness as those green soybeans so many folks seem to love. Don't hate'em, just won't seek them out. So for me it's not regional, it's just personal.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  The one time I tried boiled peanuts (MN state fair circa 1998, probably not the most authentic source), they triggered my edamame/soybean sensors and I wished I had a (non-3.2) beer. Maybe if they got called by a name different from 'peanuts', folks would appreciate them more by not coming in with their delicious non-boiled peanut preconceptions?

                                  1. re: b grubbs

                                    This kinda reinforces my ongoing one-man's-ceiling thesis: these things trigger MY edamame/soybean sensor, too, and what that tells ME is to spit it into the nearest wastebasket as politely as possible, and go find something else to eat. Well, that's a tad harsh - if you leave a bowl of these on the table and nothing else, I'll probably inch my way through them - but that category of taste/texture/aroma is not one that really pleases me.

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      The secret to both edamame and boiled peanuts is plenty of kosher salt. It renders them both edible.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        Double jeopardy for me: gotta watch the sodium. I'd just rather skip the whole thing. Too many other really nice things to eat to go wasting my time trying to render the marginally edible acceptable. Besides, hard-to-digest legumes tend to make me, um, not pleasant to be around. Bigtime.

                                        But thanks for trying...

                                2. j
                                  janet of reno

                                  I like boiled peanuts just fine. But I'm only a semi-yankee, having spent most of the first ten or so years of my life in Texas. I'm not sure HOW you would define Texas...southern? southwestern? like no other place?? Anyway, if it matters, I was first introduced to boiled peanuts by neither yankee nor southerner nor Texan, but by my husband, who was born and raised in the western part of India, where apparently folks share the southern taste for this delicacy....

                                  1. being one, I am generally against boiling Yankees.

                                    Don't think I have had them. I prefer them roasted and used to eat them, shell and all.

                                    1. I'm Chinese and grew up eating them. My mother used to make it frequently. Addictive and delish, regardless of how you eat them.

                                      1. Half-Yankee (dad from Maine) and half Southerner (mom from Georgia) - love boiled peanuts just fine, although my mom did not introduce me to them. That happened when I was on a business trip to Warner Robins, GA. There was a pickup truck parked by the road, with a hand-lettered sign advertising "boiled p-nuts" in front of a big stainless steel kettle with a propane ring going under it. The side of his truck was lettered with the name of his pesticide company. I had to try some.

                                        They are pronounced "bowl'd peenuts" down in middle Georgia.

                                        One of my more amusing stories relates to the brew pub 5 Seasons in north Atlanta. They have lots of great grub on their menu, including edamame, which they subtitle "Japanese Boiled Peanuts". That's when you know you are in the south.

                                        By the way, if you love Southern small town festivals and boiled peanuts, head on down to Dothan, Alabama. They have a huge peanut festival. It's coming up in October.

                                        Link: http://www.nationalpeanutfestival.com/

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Loren3

                                          Love your story about the peanut and pesticide truck. I've been to Dothan many times and will have to check out their peanut festival. Speaking of which our state is famous for the annual " Chitlin Strut " festival in Salley, SC. I bought a t-shirt from there which reads " We got the guts to strut ". They even have a prize for the person who struts best after eating fried chitlins.

                                          I was born and raised near the SC-Ga. line and am a distant cousin to Jimma.

                                        2. I spent several decades in Gainesville one June weekend and tried them then. Eh. They tasted a bit too green and vegetal to me.

                                          Lived all my life in New England or New York.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: marcia

                                            Was that Gainesville, Ga. or Fla.? Must have been Ga. as the one in Fla. is a fun college town. I agree there's not much to do in Gainesville Ga. except to drive over to Hotlanta. I did buy a car there once.

                                            As for BP's I guess they aren't all created equal.

                                            1. re: Paul in S.C.

                                              "not all created equal"

                                              An older, formerly retired gentleman (actually, I think he's a Yankee, but I wouldn't want to cast aspersions) who owns Perdue's Mountain Fruit Farm in Northern Greenville county sells boiled peanuts. He informs me that he drives down to Georgia and buys fresh green peanuts "in season" and boils them for sale at his fruit farm. He says many of the boiled peanuts one sees for sale on the roadsides are made from....uh...something else...dried peanuts, maybe...I wasn't paying attention. But apparently boiled peanuts are like everything else, some are more equal than others.

                                              As for myself, I enjoy the occasional boiled peanut, but they don't just kill me. Although southern b&b, I have always had some unfortunate alien characteristics (won't drink coke nor put pork fat in vegetables) which culminated in my marriage to a Yankee. He finds boiled peanuts about as uninteresting as he does grits.

                                              1. re: danna

                                                You remember correctly about green vs. dry nuts. I have an employee who grew up on a farm in lower SC who will only boil peanuts when he can find perfect green nuts. He makes GREAT boiled peanuts, BTW.
                                                He says that most roadside sellers will use dry nuts.
                                                Perhaps the boiled peanut haters have never had a chance to try them made correctly.

                                                1. re: Tee

                                                  It troubles me that folks may have never experienced the real thing and based a life time of misperception on an inferior example of this leguminous wonder.

                                                2. re: danna

                                                  That Greenville County Yankee ( next door to my beloved Pickens ) knows boiled peanuts. Using fresh green ones makes all the difference in the world. I married the enemy as well and she's still trying to reconstruct me from streak-a-lean. She does like my slow cook grits and hardly a day goes by that she doesn't ask me to make my Harlem Ga. cornbread.

                                                  Cromer's peanuts here in Columbia do right by theirs.

                                                3. re: Paul in S.C.

                                                  "I agree there's not much to do in Gainesville Ga. except to drive over to Hotlanta." Wrong! You can also drive about 5 miles north to Road Atlanta, which is one of the swellest, most beautiful roadracing venues in the country, and home to the annual Walter Mitty Challenge sports car event. If you're into that kind of thing.

                                                  Or you can go visit my sister and her nice but rather boring husband...naaww, go to Atlanta.

                                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                                    Will's boring brother in law

                                                    All right, Will. You know all those cases of left over Billy Beer I have in the garage? Well, no more for you.

                                                    1. re: Will's boring brother in law

                                                      As my REAL bro-in-law thinks a 4-oz glass of wine with a meal is gittin' down and partyin' HARD (and to the best of my knowledge doesn't care much for any beer except root), you didn't have me fooled for a moment. Well, a little apprehensive until I read the post; this IS a national board, and ya never know!

                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                        Beware! my first couple of posts here I used my full name. Now, if I Google me, those posts pop up on the first page. Ack!

                                                        Although I no longer use my full name, I have severely restricted my "....and then my-father-in law said to the waiter....." stories.

                                                  2. re: Paul in S.C.

                                                    There is a good barbeque restaurant in Gainesville, GA - Johnny's BBQ. It has Brunswick stew that is superior to any SC hash.

                                                    1. re: georgiapeach

                                                      I have eaten there and the Q was very good. Their stew is as good as any but that chicken veggie soupyness concoction is not my cup of tea. My father used to pour Castlebury's Brunswick Stew over grits and serve it to me for B'fast when I was a kid.

                                                      1. re: Paul in S.C.

                                                        Childhood issues with Brunswick stew, eh? Stew and grits mixed together sounds a little gross. So what's the best place for SC hash?

                                                        1. re: georgiapeach

                                                          The best regular BBQ hash is at Carolina BBQ in New Ellington outside Aiken, SC and not far from Augusta.
                                                          The best BBQ liver hash with red gravy ( my favorite ) is at Roger's BBQ in Florence,S.C. ( a good place to eat on the way to Myrtle Beach ). I have had good Brunswick stew in Brunswick Ga. Is the stew named for the town? Also the old Swamp Guinea's(sp?) stew in Hartwell,Ga. was good. Not that I hate stew, it's just that I think BBQ hash is better with BBQ. Now I love hash on grits or rice.

                                                4. Well, I've been waiting for someone to finish the story, but no one has so far. So we have ordered a soft drink and a bag of nuts, and we pour the nuts into the glass. Then we drink the liquid and savor the saltiness. Then we have all these wet nuts left in the bottom of the glass. What do we do with them? Pick them out with a spoon? With our fingers? Or tilt the glass and hope they roll down in a reasonable way? Or are there ice cubes in the glass that get all mixed up with the nuts?

                                                  How hard can you tap the bottom of the glass and still be considered polite? If the ice cubes roll down with the nuts must you chew them or do you spit them back into the glass?

                                                  Are they skinless peanuts, or is skin-on (like Beer Nuts) OK? But then I suppose you get the skins in your teeth while you drink. Maybe they get removed as you chew the ice cubes.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Spudlover

                                                    that the traditional way to have peanuts with your soft drink is to pour them into a glass bottle of Coke, Pepsi, or RC. Plastic bottles are ok but not as enjoyable. It's a process where you keep adding more nuts as you drink it down. You have to make sure you have the right proportion so that the last sip still contains a few nuts. Please don't put them in a glass with ice. That just won't do. And be sure and use the salted peanuts without skins. Sometime I'll explain the art of eating cornbread with buttermilk.

                                                    1. re: Paul in S.C.

                                                      Thanks for the info, I will give it a try and who knows, start a whole new trend locally. But I am a cornbread lover, and you can break loose with the buttermilk thing any time.

                                                  2. I'm a Yankee who loves boiled peanuts, and now my son does, too. It's one of the first things we buy when we go to Savannah.

                                                    But I'm giving myself away. I'm Yankee born and bred (from the Philadelphia area), but with deep ancestral roots in Savannah. So do I count as a Yankee? My son certainly does, having been there only three or four times.

                                                    It may count me among northerners that I did not grow to like boiled peanuts until my thirties, 15 years or more after I stopped visiting Savannah every summer with my grandmother, cousins and their other grandparents and cousins.

                                                    My son and I make them at home now, using raw peanuts in the shell from Giant and a recipe from an old cookbook of Christ Church in Savannah. The result is not as good as what we buy at T.S. Chu's mini-marts (plain or Cajun), but we're getting there. When we do, we're going to experiment with different flavors.

                                                    Dill peanuts, anyone?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Peggy

                                                      well, some of us think of Philadelphia, PA, as being part of the south.

                                                      Try making garlic peanuts. I recently saw garlic pistachios showing up in stores.

                                                      And let us not forget whilst popping peanuts in our mouths to give homage to George Washington Carver, the inventor of over 100 uses for peanuts.

                                                    2. The New England Yankee like her peanuts crunchy.

                                                      Her Texan husband won't even go there.

                                                      It must be a Georgia thing.

                                                      1. I do like boiled peanuts , discovered them in New Orleans , and have since made them here in Detroit . The thing is , no one in the north grows peanuts , so most all people don't have access to raw peanuts . The only peanuts we natively know are dried and salted . Personally , I think boiled peanuts are one of the best snack foods EVER . But up here , we tend to make potato chips , beef ( and turkey , and venison ) jerky , and dried and smoked fish of all kinds , because thats what's around here . Smoked whitefish pate is something of a delicacy in these parts . It's awfully good on crackers with capers and red onion . Basically , to answer your question , no , most yankees have no idea what boiled peanuts even are . Isn't that why we travel ? You ever had pan fried walleye ? Or sauteed lake trout ? Come on up sometime , I'll fry the perch , and you can boil the peanuts . Pecans don't grow here either , we have walnuts , but pecan crusted fish rocks .

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: GoalieJeff

                                                          >> Come on up sometime

                                                          I'd LOVE to!

                                                          1. re: GoalieJeff

                                                            how about some smoked shad washed down with a birch beer?

                                                          2. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area and I've bought fresh peanuts in the shell at Farmers Markets just so I could make boiled peanuts! I love them :-) And I'm not a Southerner...