Consider with me for a moment, if you will, ladies and gentlemen, the humble Legume called the Peanut.
You know…the Peanut, of Peanut Butter fame.
I’m quite proud to tell you that I’m a Peter Pan man myself (smooth, not chunky) and you can have Skippy and Jiff and all of that expensive organic crap they sell for $8 a jar.
By the way, did you ever wonder who the heck named all the brands of peanut butter in the first place?
Why not Betty and Barney and Fred and Ethel Mertz...but I digress.
Could it have been someone like Walt Disney that’s responsible for the names on today's Peanut Butter jars?
Any way…forgetting the various processed versions, my topic this morning is the native pea, in its native pod.
One, two, three, sometimes four, and IF you’re really lucky—FIVE luscious blobs of fat, protein, and starch—all neatly prepackaged in a fiber shell that splits right down the middle when you press in between your fingers or crunch on it with your teeth.
Specifically, I’m talking about BOILED PEANUTS.
I made myself some yesterday, and they absolutely, positively, are horrible…but it’s not my fault.
I bought them in the grocery store, green, to cook on the stovetop; but after I had finished 24 hours of soaking, salting, seasoning, and lovingly tending to my ambrosia, I was aghast to find that not only were my peanuts “green,” but they were REAL green.
In fact, they weren’t completely ripe.
Gosh dang it.
You see, I’m a bit of a peanut connoisseur, having grown up in southern Alabama in a major peanut producing area, and spending summers on a farm that in it’s day produced hundreds of tons of peanuts.
In fact, there are peanuts either growing or being processed practically everywhere you could look around where I’m from in LA (Lower Alabama.)
There’s even a monument dating back to 1919, in the little nearby town of Enterprise, Alabama, dedicated to the Bowl Weevil—a little critter that forced the post Civil War southern farmers out of cotton business (in spite of Mr. whitney's Cotton Gin) and into crops like Peanuts and Soybeans.
It seems that back in the late 1800’s a black dude named George Washington Carver was convinced by another famous African American, Booker Taliaferro Washington, to come down to Tuskegee Institute and once there Mr. Washington gave Dr. Carver some cash, along with all the peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes that he could handle.
We're not talking eating or snacking here either...
Massive research ensued.
When it was all said and done, there were thousands of new products and a number of US Patents issued as a result of his efforts.
I wish he’d (Dr. Carver) would somehow come back from his grave here this morning and fix MY peanuts.
Oh Well...It doesn't hurt to ask...
Here’s another thing about peanuts that many of my fellow ignorant city slicker southerners and most of you Yankees out there probably don’t know.
Peanuts are STRANGE plants.
They grow their stems and leaves and develope their blooms ABOVE ground, then the peanut plant turns around and somehow manages to dive the stems with the pollinated blossoms BACK INTO THE GROUND, where the peanut proceeds to develop like a carrot or potato.
You can take that little known fact with you to the TV show "Jeopardy" or go out and try to win some cash hanging around your favorite watering hole betting with ignoramuses that don't know
peas beans about Peanut farming.
Heck...I’ve had doctors and lawyers and snake oil salesmen threaten to beat my brains out arguing about that fact…but it’s a FACT none the less…
All I know is that it looks like I cooked me the crappiest batch of boiled peanuts I’ve ever had tonight and...like I said earlier…I WANT MY MONEY BACK…ALL $4 WORTH..Dangitttt.
My Grandpa Rushing is probably turning over in his grave right now if he knew how much I paid for RAW peanuts…
Ironically, if you look closely at the picture of Enterprise's Bowl Weevil monument, you'll notice that the marble statue is not actually holding the bronze Bowl Weevil insect...about 10 inches long...because it is a long standing tradition for various pranksters and high school kids to steel the "bowl Weevil " off of the top as a joke and hold it hostage.
I'm happy to report that when I last drove past a few weeks ago that the image of the bug was comfortably resting on it's perch atop the gothic maiden's vissage. I think that they had to make it a Felony or something to keep the bug in place for public viewing.
I can just hear the commentary of the times..."a spending a five hundred dolllllarssssss a building a monument to a gosh dang buuuuuugggggggg."
The descendants of those same people are complaining here in Brunswick today about "a spending thirty five THOUSAND dollars a carvin' on a stupid dang treeeee stumpppppp..."