Boiled Peanuts (or How to Be a Southerner)

My college roommate got married last May down in that part of northern Florida that is essentially synonymous with southern Georgia. 95 degrees without a cloud in the sky, the air hugged us tightly as soon as we walked outside. We spent a day and a half fanning ourselves while we cut stunning gladiolas from her mother's front yard for the centerpieces, swatting away mosquitos under the Spanish moss, and wiping the sweat (excuse me, the


) and melting sunscreen from our brows as we carried tablecloths and homemade strawberry cake into the garden center where she would say "I do" to her long-time boyfriend under the oak trees.

We woke happy and hungover the day after the wedding, rummaged through the refrigerator in our bathing suits, and dumped leftover corn on the cob and barbecue sandwiches and beer into a cooler. We shoved ourselves into a couple cars with the bride and groom (now husband and wife) and headed south for a few hours at the beach, a little friend-accompanied pre-honeymoon.

Before we turned left onto the long straight road aimed toward the Gulf, we stopped at a little wooden hut where an older gentleman sold us boiled peanuts for five dollars. We breathed in the smell of the salty brine and with soggy napkins crumpled in our fingers, we passed the hot bag around the car.

The beige sand stretched along for miles, and we sat on the edges of a sheet under the pop-up canopy drinking and snacking and telling stories. When it got too hot, we waded into the calm water and tried not to step on the horseshoe crabs zipping around underneath us. The sun started to dip below the horizon, and we rolled up the sheet and walked barefoot back to the cars.

We drove back in the dark, tired and sandy and satiated.

Boiled Peanuts 



, with much gratitude

Raw peanuts in their shells (not roasted)


1. Dump about 2 pounds of peanuts in their shells into a stock pot and cover with water plus an inch or two more.

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Add 1/2 cup salt and turn down to a simmer.

4. Simmer covered for 1 1/2 - 2 hours and then check to see if the peanuts are soft. (I actually had to cook mine for about 4-5 hours. I think I didn't add enough water in the beginning - I added more - and perhaps had them on too low of a simmer).

5. Once the peanuts are soft, turn off the heat and let them sit in the salty water for at least a half hour.

6. Drain the peanuts in a colander and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can be reheated in the microwave or eaten cold.

Shout out again to EJ

, who made this walk down memory lane possible by sending me the peanuts and the recipe. Thank you thank you thank you!


You can go home again


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