Growing up in the south is a little weird, you don’t grow up knowing it’s weird, but you quickly figure it out once you travel north of the Carolinas. Take for instance sweet tea, we always, and I do mean always, had a pitcher of sweet iced tea in the fridge growing up. It was one of the first things I learned how to “make” as a child, and lord help you if you had the last glass and forgot to make more. I didn’t know this wasn’t a standard beverage option, until I visited Boston for the first time.
We were at dinner, and I, with out thinking, asked the waiter for sweet tea. He was really confused by my request and we ended up in a five minute conversation with me explaining what this “sweet tea” was. The waiter was really nice about it, he laughed and told me that he’d never heard of making tea that way. He brought me some raspberry tea instead, insisting that it was the northern equivalent. Nothing like sweet tea, but I appreciated the gesture. I had a similar eye-opening moment when one of my favorite bloggers wrote about making, what she had heard was a southern delicacy, boiled peanuts.
1 pound of raw “green” peanuts (not the color green, but fresh raw peanuts)
1/4 cup kosher salt (or 2 Tbsp table salt)
4 cups water
2 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning, smoked paprika, shrimp boil mix, or even star anise (optional)
Thoroughly rinse raw unshelled peanuts in water.Put water, salt, seasoning (if desired), peanuts in a large stockpot. Bring to a low boil. Cover and reduce the heat just enough to maintain a low boil. Boil for 2 to 3 hours or longer (some boil their peanuts all day), until peanuts reach desired level of softness. Drain. Eat up within a couple of days. Boiled peanuts don’t save as well as dry.
Southern, absolutely, but I wouldn’t call boiled peanuts a delicacy. They’re dirt cheap to make, and you can buy them at almost any roadside fruit stand or bait shop across the state, but I guess if you’d never tried them…
Tutorial and images from Wit & Whistle.