This is a dish of boiled peanuts. You love them, you hate them, or you just haven't had them; they are not a foodstuff about which there is much neutrality.
It's quite likely the texture. Perhaps the smell. Maybe the mess.
This probably seems self-explanatory from the name, but the popular roadside snack is made by boiling raw or "green" peanuts (or "p-nuts" as they're often touted) in heavily salted water until the shells soften and the nutmeat loses any snap. Devotees pop 'em open and slurp them out of the shells like edamame with a Southern accent, but again - there are issues.
This did not deter the business-suited gentlemen and linen-frocked ladies lunching on the porch of Charleston's Husk Restaurant on a recent sunny afternoon. There, like the patrons gobbling them down, the peanuts are a bit gussied up. Chef Sean Brock's rendition of South Carolina's official state snack is tangled in strands of salty country ham and spiked with tear-coaxing jalapeño peppers. They're sloppy as heck, and there's no way to down them daintily, but servers carried pail after pail of them to well-heeled patrons who just did their best to minimize the collateral damage.
A brine stain can be scrubbed, and the salty reek will dissipate, but a love (or loathing) for boiled peanuts - that's sunk in too deeply to wash away.
No roadside stand near you? The Lee Bros. can tell you how to make them at home, and they or Hardy Farms can ship you the makings. Peanut Patch makes a perfectly acceptable canned version for when you just can't wait or spare the boiling time.
Periodically, Lick the Screen will showcase a food photo that sets our stomach rumbling. If you'd like your work to be featured, submit your pictures to the Eatocracy Flickr pool or leave a link in the comments. We'll get in touch if what we see makes us weak at the knees.
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