27 May 2010

Boiled Peanuts In NYC

Take the pitcher, Joo-yawn...

The mysterious Ta'er sent me this article 'bout how boiled peanuts and southerners are huge trendy in NYC nowadays.

There's a couple boiled peanuts on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in nineteen and eighty five. We were college sweethearts and she visited me in NYC a year after we graduated. We were holding on to the relationship but it was slippin' away fast what with the miles between her Georgia and my new love, Manhattan.

I don't think you can understand southerners without being one. Except for South Dakota, my birthplace and home for less than a year, I lived in the south or southwest until I was 26. In 5th grade I went to school with kids whose parents worked in textile mills and lived in houses with dirt floors and wax paper for windows. I grew up with Uncle Boots and Aunt Ona. Uncle P.E. and Aunt Beulah. They were my blood. But so was my father and his people from Duluth, MN. I didn't really belong to either.

I took what I loved from each and walked from what I didn't like. I adored grits heavily buttered and salted but left the kale cooked with ham hocks. I caught bass out of a man made pond on my great grandparent's N.C. farm one summer. They drank a lot of sweet iced tea. The next summer I lunched at Toots Shor in NYC and hung out in Greenwich, CT with the Duluth grandparents and an aunt and uncle who had worked for Joan Crawford. They liked to have high balls at 5PM. I still don't know what a high ball is.

I'm happy boiled peanuts are easy to find in NYC. But, like southerners, they've always been here - you just had to know where to look.


M.Lane said...

Good points, all. A pal of mine from school left his home in Gulfport Mississippi to move to Manhattan for a little gig with the "enn eff ell". This was a great guy, but no movie star in the looks dept. A regular guy like the rest of us then. The next time I saw him he was dating cover models and generally tearing up NYC. He swore that his accent made all the difference. All I can say was that is certainly worked better than mine did. I imagine some uber-trendoid joint in SOHO will be serving boiled peanuts at happy hour...for $25.


Anonymous said...

It's a hoot that New Yorkers and New Englanders still wonder at us Southerners. The South just is what it is, another region in our ever-evolving country. I don't think the French spend nearly as much time wrestling with their identity as they choose regional cuisines for Paris restaurants. They seem to accept and embrace them wholly. Then again, everyone loves Provence. Maybe boiled peanuts in New York is a start.

Having said that, my Wisconsin born, university grad mother had her first Southern culture shock in the early '60s when, working in our garage with a circular saw, was approached by the neighborhood women and admonished not to do what she was doing. You see, men are supposed to use tools, never women. Yikes. She resumed her sawing.

But we have long since given up our rope belts and "wax paper windows" for jet skis and beach condo vacations.

Cute couple you are in that pic!


Linda & Doug said...

where in S.D.? I was born in western part of the state, Igloo. Not there anymore. Moved to Wyo. at 6 mos.

JMW said...

Yummm, boiled peanuts and sweet tea (or a Coke, depending on how sweet you want to go). Gotta love the South.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother always said you had a "yankee brogue". But she liked your sense of style and humor and also how well you fit in at Thanksgiving.
About the time this photo was taken her saged advice to me was, "Dahlin', The Wawuh is over, you need to kiss and make up". Translation: The Civil War has ended. It's o.k. to keep a Yankee around.
BTW: I had peanuts and CoCola for lunch just last week.
ME (pictured above, circa 1985)

notesandbeats said...

A highball is blended whiskey (CC, Seagram's, Cutty, for example) and ginger ale on the rocks. It is my go-to winter drink. G&T (or Pimm's) in the summer.

Keith said...

Great post. I quite enjoy checking out your blog. You do a fantastic job with it. I hope you've been having a wonderful week.

Cathleen said...

Ah, memories of mid-20s dating. I dated a young man from Raleigh in the early '90s and thoroughly enjoyed all my visits to the South with him. I was sort of in a hippie phase. Anyway, so much politeness and sketchy-ness at the same time. I recall so many of his friends were heavy smokers, as if they were encouraged to smoke to show support for the state of NC. Like you, I try to take what I like and disregard the rest. Great post.

tintin said...

M Lane- I know the type.

Man, we should open a place with cheap food (eggs, mac and cheese, fried bologna, iceberg lettuce)mark it up huge and have old strippers from Jax serve it in hot pants and halter tops. Call it the, "Oh, Hey!"

DB- Great stuff. I suppose back then if a lady couldn't smoke on the street she sure as heck couldn't use a power tool. Course most of the southern men I knew back then were power tools.

Linda and Doug- The Bad Lands.

JMW- I always took my boiled peanuts with a beer. I eat the shells as well. Do you?

ME- I adored your grandmother. And your mother. Bu then you knew that.

notesand beats- Actually, it's any drink in a tall glass with a booze base and mixer on ice. Can be a scotch and soda, a gin and tonic, etc.

I guess the high ball (comes from the tracks are clear ahead) was ordered like this: "Hey, Arnie. How 'bout a high ball." And Arnie replies," Sure, Tony. Make mine a scotch and soda." I don't get it either.

Keith- You are Mr Sincerity.

Cathleen - That's still the case in Kentucky. Last time I was at Keeneland I never saw so much smoking.

Tonyhall89 said...

just stumbled across your blog today, but I must say I will be coming back to visit

keep up the good work

Old Hamptonian said...

Twenty-seven years ago I moved from a city in Virginia of which you know a bit. Here in Massachusetts the natives very much still fight the Civil War, a convenient distraction, I suppose, from how segregated their state is - beyond anything I experienced at home after about 1970. My children are natives of this place, with all the peculiarities of speech and manners, and the dogged, mistaken belief that American history begins here, in 1620. My wife, a Long Island native schooled in the South, affectionately speaks my name in a dead-perfect Shenandoah Valley accent (nothing like the old Tidewater accent, but nice to hear).

I miss living among people who go out of their way not to discomfort strangers, but will put up with almost anything not to walk outdoors on a summer night into the heat and aquarium humidity of my old home. I would argue that two of the most important facets of Southern culture are neighborliness (my own reserve makes me fall sadly short on that point) and, even in an infidel such as I, an English Protestant disregard for authority and received opinion. My supervisor likes to say, "I'm supposed to be the boss here."

tintin said...

Tonyhall- Thanks and you must come back!

Old Hamptonian-
I think there were 3 generations of Spanish in St Augustine, FL when the first Pilgrim stepped ashore. A wonderful memoir and evidence you can take the man out of the south but you can't take the south out of the man.

I had a thing for Hampton. Good friends were a big part of it and being 15 and having a girl friend who liked to French kiss was another. I cried for days when we left. We moved to Colorado Springs and I must admit; I never got that place. And I suppose I never will. Thanks for your wonderful comment.


Can one get a pickled pig's foot in NYC, and if so, can one enjoy it with a Red Rock Cola? Didn't think so.

tintin said...

Stew- I'll take you up on this. I hear a wager?


I'm game. But we'll have to set some conditions, e.g., you can't cab over to chinatown and grab a jar of sezchaun pigs feet, dig? (And good luck finding Red Rock on the wrong side of the MD.)

Now there's something Garden & Gun WON'T do a feature on...

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

Tin-tin's phred/Dad
You'll remember the old guy I worked for in St. Aug. He could never remember the difference twixt Highball and Cocktail. I'd frequently drop him off at his home after work. He'd always invite me in for what he called "CockBalls" (no kidding).
I learned more about running a business from that wonderful old man than I did in my Grad School MBA program.

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