Yesterday, our older, Alyssa, daughter and I went to Five Guys for burgers and fries. It was my first time to the popular burger shack. The burgers were awesome, the fries phenomenal blah blah blahdy blah... What I wanna know is why the heck no one has ever mentioned the shell peanuts to me?! What the what? My husband Russell is in deep shells over this!
Shell peanuts take me back to childhood. Shell peanuts take me back to watching baseball games with my family at Candlestick Park or the Oakland Coliseum. We went to see the San Francisco Giants or the Oakland A's or even the Golden State Warriors (my mom always had a crush on the granny-style free throw tosser Rick Barry) and eat shell peanuts along with the other fans. (It's a must at ball games!)
Anyway, I was thrilled to see the giant boxes of fresh, shell peanuts and turned to Alyssa and asked, 'Are you going to try some?' She replied 'I don't like whole peanuts.' 'These are different.' I said. 'These are shell peanuts. Try them.' I scooped some of the crackly, salty treats into the provided paper trays and brought them to our table. Alyssa did the same. I spun the shell peanuts between my fingers to break the fragile, filamenty shell from the crunchy treats. Alyssa did the same. I plied the peanuts from the shell with my lips, getting the skins stuck there (the embarrassing part of eating them but the best part of the experience) and popped them in my mouth. I closed my eyes, chomped and was transported to sunny days in California! I brushed my hands (and my shirt) of the salt, dust and shell. Alyssa did the same. My favorite type of cracked shell is the coveted half-cracked shell where the top shell separates from the bottom in one, miraculous piece. That's the best because then, both crunchy peanuts can be topped into your mouth at once! Total bliss!
The first perfect half shelled shell peanut I created , I handed to Alyssa. She looked at me puzzled. 'Now what do I do?' She said. 'Pop it in your gob of course!' I said. She did. Shell and all! I stopped her but this is the kid that ate chicken bones during her study abroad trip to China, so I figured she'd live. I asked her 'Why the HELL did you do that?! Haven't you had shell peanuts before?' She said "No. You've never given them to me before.' Gosh did we laugh... We laughed until the tears rolled down our cheeks. It's such fun to make memories with your kids. Who'd have thought such a special moment of mother and daughter bonding would have happened over such a silly treat.
That said, I am still the WORST parent ever! How could I NOT have shared shell peanuts with her before this time? Then I thought about it. Shell peanuts aren't typically eaten at home, on the couch, over carpet. Shell peanuts are eaten in a stadium or arena or a fair. Somewhere outside. Whew! Maybe I'm not that bad a mother after all...
Do you have a favorite childhood treat you have not shared with your child? Please share it and the experience you had with your child when you did, in the comments section.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor