The boiled peanut. I can’t think of any food that’s more divisive than this slimy, hot, difficult to eat little nut. Either you love the boiled peanut, or you hate the boiled peanut. There is no middle ground.
Typically, your preference is dictated by your geography. I believe some people call them “Yankees.” I won’t resort to name calling. I’ll just say that if you’re raised in the South, you’ll have a hard time not liking boiled peanuts. It’s like growing up on an island and not liking fish. Good luck with that. Boiled peanuts are ubiquitous. You find boiled peanuts on the side of the road, at the gas station, at the flea market, at parties, bars…I even found a guy boiling up a batch at the farmer’s market this week.
That’s how you know the weather has finally turned for good. The boiled peanut stands pop up.
The great irony of the boiled peanut is that it’s a classic road trip food, but it’s hard as hell to eat while you’re driving. It takes two hands so you have to drive with your knee, you get the juice all over you so you need lots of napkins, and you need a trash can to dispose of the empties. And yet, you can’t take a road trip in the South without stopping to get boiled peanuts. That’s sacrilege.
Of course, like most things in life, boiled peanuts are better with beer. I finally came across Starr Hill’s new Soulshine Belgian Pale Ale this week, at roughly the same time I found the first boiled peanut stand. Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidences. What followed was the ultimate warm weather culinary experience—chasing a batch of hot boiled peanuts with this new, warm weather beer. Soulshine is lighter than your typical pale, almost as bubbly as Champagne, but still a little bit hoppy with a pleasant grapefruit nose. In other words, this is good boiled peanut beer.
I threw the empty shells over the side of my deck and wiped my slimy hands on my camouflage shorts. Because that’s what we do in the South.