Savoring the Good Life – Nut’n to It.
PEANUTS…what do you think of first? The comic strip, a little peanut man dressed in tophat and cane, elephants, baseball, Jimmy Carter, the South?
Peanuts have been a universally known product around the world, and bring to mind a variety of experiences and memories for many of us. But how often have you thought about where the peanuts actually come from before they are shelved at our grocery stores and concession stands? Or how many products are made with peanuts? Were you aware that the majority of peanut production is in fact within the southern United States? Georgia alone provides half of the entire peanut supply for the United States.
I recently had the opportunity to visit and tour several peanut farms in Tifton, Georgia with the Georgia Peanut Commission and the National Peanut Board. It was a fun and informative couple of days with a very friendly group of writers who, along with me, were graciously shown the entire peanut process- from field to shelf- by some of Georgia’s well established peanut farmers.
Two days worth of peanut talk had me thinking about my favorite peanut product and ultimate comfort food…peanut butter. As a kid you can’t get enough of it: peanut butter toast, PB&J sandwiches, peanut butter and apple wedges, ants on a log, and old school peanut butter cookies (served up with a cold glass of milk).
Perhaps during the teenage years, you pretended that peanut butter and all it’s sweet and salty glory wasn’t cool, opting instead for tacos, wraps and pizza. But let’s face it. At times, you just wanted some. How often did you secretly rush to the pantry and grab that familiar jar of gooey, creamy, and salty delight? Maybe you took the time to spread it on a few saltines, but more than likely, you just grabbed a spoon and scooped straight from the jar.
As an adult, I still love me some peanut butter. As a matter of fact, I’m gulping a PB2 green monster smoothie as we speak! It’s amazing to think that such a simple food can be a “fast food” with nutritional value, easy on the wallet, and damn good all at the same time.
PEANUTS…now what are you thinking? You want some, don’t you!
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What is my first peanut memory? My dad stopping along the side of a Georgia road whenever he saw a beaten up pickup truck sporting a worn cardboard sign, with fading PEANUTS scrawled on it. The farmer, a John Deere hat shading half his face, usually wore hand-me-down Liberty overalls. Sometimes it took six hours to reach my grandmother’s house in Talking Rock, Georgia–usually a four-hour trip on the back roads. Bags and bags of boiled peanuts. My dad grabbed and gobbled with all the distraction of a texting teenager. Talk about swerve-drive on mountain roads. Boiled peanuts? That non-entices my taste as much as boiled okra. Does that kick me out of the South?
PB&J was one of my main dietary staples as a child no doubt!