You know it is August when you’ve just finished your lunch and it consisted of a tomato sandwich on white bread and some boiled peanuts. That got me thinking…Why hasn’t there been a documentary done on the “Disappearance of the Boiled Peanut Truck?” Sounds captivating to me.
Let me back up. See, when I was growing up I could always count on seeing a boiled peanut truck on a few corners throughout Columbus, Ga (or the Chattahoochee Valley). Now don’t confuse a boiled peanut truck with a food truck because boiled peanuts are sold from many different vehicles on any kind of road: out of the back of a pickup truck alongside some veggies, at a flea market, or in a bona-fide boiled peanut truck (branded and all). But for some reason (and I’ve especially noticed this since moving to Birmingham 10+ years ago), buying boiled peanuts on the side of the road is becoming a lost art.
Heck, if we are talking about art, I’d even suggest that there’s an art to how you eat boiled peanuts. There are folks who use their mouth to crack open the shell, suck out the juice, and pop the peanuts back all at once. There are folks who choose to open the shells with their fingers so they can have the juice slide down their arm and run off their elbows just so they can take a good look at what kind of peanuts are hiding in there before gobbling them up. Then there are folks like me. I do both. And I prefer boiling the green peanuts, which is a no-brainer but I felt like I should give a shout out since we are talking boiled peanuts.
Whether you are throwing the shells on a paper plate or spitting them out of the window (sorry, it’s just true), those shells can be rather controversial. Just be sure to look behind you on the highway before tossing them out of the window. You might just see a car pass you with their windshield wipers going ninety to nothing and possibly saying some not-so-nice things to you. Not that I’ve ever had that happen to me or anything.
I’d say the only challenging parts about eating boiled peanuts are:
1) that whole peanut allergy issue (just ain’t right)
2) the empty shell situation (see paragraph above)
3) feeling like you ingested an entire salt lick immediately after eating them (I’m currently scraping my tongue from the top of my mouth and furiously applying chapstick as I write this post)
But for real. Where did all the boiled peanuts go? Luckily, I was able to purchase mine from a farmer at Pepper Place Saturday Market this morning, but that can’t sustain us. We need more options during the week.
So all of this to say:
1) Will all you Southern Food Historians find a way to track down our beloved boiled peanut trucks? You seem to care about BBQ and BBQ sauce and food trucks and collard greens and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, but why not the boiled peanut?
2) All you Birmingham, Alabama folks: where do YOU go to get your boiled peanut fix? Please don’t say gas station. And please don’t say “out of the can.”
Oh, and that tomato sandwich? I’m not a complicated ‘mater sandwich kind of girl: white bread, sliced tomato, salt, pepper, and Hellmann’s (Sorry, all you Duke mayo fans…I’m Hellmann’s all the way).
Now, somebody find me some boiled peanuts!!!