A couple of weeks ago in this space, I offered my services for spell-checking signs at roadside food stands.
This week, I’m revisiting that topic, sort of – breaking down the different variations of shacks, stands, and tents I’ve visited in search of the perfect peanut.
Driving the backroads of Georgia is like frolicking through Peanut Xanadu – a new nutty concoction around every corner, sold to you, most probably, by a halfcocked nut.
Being a zealous legume lover, I don’t make a trip over 100 miles without at least one stop for some roadside peanuts – my favorite being boiled peanuts. One thing that has struck me about these brief junkets is the different varieties of peanuts available here in the South. All have very similar characteristics to the boiled peanut, but are branded or marketed differently from shack to shack.
Some examples I have sampled, with my own short reviews:
• Bold Peanuts: Seeing this sign scribbled on a rickety fruit stand in southwest Georgia, I was expecting something zesty and exciting. But I found them to taste rather tame compared to boiled peanuts. Don’t let the clever phrasing fool you.
• Bowled Peanuts: The sign, etched in red ink, or perhaps blood, intrigued me. Are these peanuts merely served in a bowl, or are they prepared by bowling them over with something? Or were they prepared by actual bowlers? My answer: Served in a sack and wet. Intrigue became disappointment.
• Bulled Peanuts: The name scared me, but I’m always game for a new goober. I asked the man sitting in the lawn chair why they were called “bulled peanuts.” He responded with, “Ya ain’t from round here, are ya boy?” In the faint distance, I heard a banjo, and ran to my car. Scary, indeed.
For the record, the peanuts were wet and served in a sack – sort of like boiled peanuts.
• Bolied Peanuts: I saw the sign, scrawled as if written during an earthquake, and immediately wondered what “bolied” meant? Could they be Indian peanuts? Or maybe they were “bolied” around as part of their preparation?
They came in a plastic bag and were wet – like boiled peanuts, only tastier. I recommend highly.
And if anyone knows the recipe for bolied peanuts, or how one bolies, please let me know.
• Bolid Peanuts: When I saw this sign, I thought that maybe they meant to spell “Solid Peanuts” and just made a mistake. I quickly dismissed that absurd notion and pulled over. They weren’t solid at all, but rather wet and flimsy; a lot like boiled peanuts, only saltier.
• Boild Peanuts: This dish was served from a shack on old Highway 41. I figured the name “Boild” indicated they were cooked for a shorter period of time than regular boiled peanuts.
I was right. They were somewhat wet, but simply too hard for my liking.
• Bald Peanuts: Could the name imply that these peanuts were without a shell, or some exotic variety without a dimpled outer casing? No and no.
Served in a plastic bag, hot to the touch, they looked, felt, and tasted just like regular boiled peanuts, only hotter .
• Boiled Pee-Nuts: I skipped this shack, located in north Georgia along Highway 441. Any nut that includes “pee” in its name, or its preparation, is not appetizing to my finicky palate.
So, take it from your resident peanut fancier: Just stick to boiled peanuts. The rest – no matter how slickly marketed – are pale imitations.