Monday, September 15, 2008

Memories in a Peanut Shell

It’s fall in the panhandle of Florida. The weather is no clue to the season, as it’s hot as blue blazes. But Builderman boiled some green peanuts last week from the fall peanut crop and oh my, they are delicious. I suspect it’s a southern thing, this love of boiled peanuts. Which of course, are loaded with enough fat grams to cause my Weight Watchers diary to explode.

With every bowl of peanuts I’ve had in the past week, I’ve been transported by memories of happy family times. Here’s the simple recipe:

Boiled Peanuts
5 pounds of green peanuts.
Water to cover.
1 and ¼ cup of salt.
Boil for 4-6 hours or until tender.
Do NOT add more salt if you taste-test and they don’t’ seem salty enough. They get saltier by the next day. Store in their own juice. Can be frozen.

I have my great-uncle to thank for my love of peanuts. Uncle Fleming was without a doubt the favorite uncle of my childhood. He is my grandmother’s brother and moved to heaven about 8 years ago. He was a gentleman farmer – I can’t think of anyone who personifies southern Alabama the way he did.

He grew peanuts and cotton and raised cows… he owned a cotton gin, a peanut mill and a feed mill and half the farmland in southern Alabama. (I jest - but it seemed like it to me when we “rode” his land with me and my cousins in the back of his pickup truck.) And he believed that all children should love peanuts, so he bought us Reese’s peanut butter cups, boiled peanuts, roasted peanuts, peanut M & M’s… you get the picture.

My nutshell memories of him include him tossing ice water over the top of the outdoor shower on us when we were at the Beach House in the summer. He loved practical jokes.

His love of black knee-high socks with shorts. No matter what the color of his shorts, he wore those gigantic long socks.

He always bought me coin banks and talked to me about saving money.

He always drove a black pick-up truck. He owned a tiny white poodle that would ride in the front with him. That always cracked me up. You would expect a hound dog or bird dog, not a well-groomed miniature poodle.

To do this day, I think that a cotton field is one of the prettiest sites I’ve ever seen. I absolutely love driving through the country of southern Alabama to go see my grandmother. That’s on the schedule for this coming weekend. I’ll have a bag of peanuts for the road.


Cheryl Barker said...

Hi Beverly, just popping over to thank you for visiting my blog the other day! Always fun to meet another writer :) What great memories you have of your uncle!

Chatty Kelly said...

Have a great trip!!!

I've had boiled peanuts only once, when visiting friends in Atlanta. they were surprisingly yummy.

What great memories.

Uncommon Blonde said...

Yumm ... I'm so jealous. As soon as I read the name Uncle Fleming I envisioned those black socks. lol

Merrie said...

I'm so jealous! Boiled peanuts is part of my heritage too. I never visited my grandparents that there was not a big pot of boiled peanuts - all year long! (In fact, yesterday was my grandmother's birthday, she would have been 108)
I am with you in the cotton fields and love of peanuts and all things Southern!