Friday, February 2, 2007

A Southern Tradition

Arturro lifted the lid of the crock pot. Swirles of rich gray smoke curled out from under the lid. The salty smell stretched for my nose and I couldn't help but smile. Arturro dipped in his ladle and brought out a heaping spoonful of goodness. A couple fell back into the pot with a "plop".

"Her jyou go, Meese Esperanza. Enjoy!" And he put the lid on my big Styrofoam cup of goodness.

Bald peanuts. I recently found out that there are people living in the South who have never heard of bald peanuts. (Sorry...it's "boiled peanuts"...I just can't help but say it with a southern accent.) They date back to before the Civil War. Boiled for hours in salty water, they come out hot and steaming. You pop in your mouth to crack the shell, then use your fingers to pry apart the two halves. Then pull out the tender, salty, addictive peanuts inside. I LOVE 'em. I remember Dad stopping at the little huts on the side of the road and buying them when I was growing up. We'd get 'em by the pound. Just a few days ago I had some Cajun spiced ones for the first time. Don't let their looks fool...they're full of goodness inside.

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