Make mine a fried PB&J sandwich

Published 11:43 pm Saturday, October 10, 2015

It was research. Seriously.

I’d never have eaten a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich if I hadn’t been working on a column idea. I’d have been perfectly satisfied with boiled peanuts.

But sometimes we just have to put ourselves out there for the good of others. On Saturday, I was ready to make the sacrifice on behalf of our readers.

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There’s no need to thank me. It’s all in a day’s work.

The occasion was Peanut Fest, which continues today from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. And before the health nuts and cardiologists start chiming in, I should note that a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich was among the healthier choices at that particular booth. I COULD have chosen a fried Snickers bar. At least my fried sandwich pocket had fruit in it.

The fried PBJ was the culmination of a challenge I had put to myself on Saturday morning: I would try to sample all of the peanut-related foods I could find at Peanut Fest.

I’ve been eating peanuts since I could chew. My father’s Georgia family took it as a matter of principle to make sure I knew about dropping goobers into a Coke bottle. They’d disown me if they knew I considered Virginia peanuts to be superior to the Georgia ones.

When I was a student at Virginia Tech, I used to come home just so I’d pass The Virginia Diner and Plantation Peanuts, where I’d stock up on roasted, salted-in-the-shell peanuts. It’s a long way between Wakefield and Blacksburg, and the floorboards of many a friend’s car were filled with peanut husks by the time we arrived at school.

So, yeah, Peanut Fest is kind of my thing.

As I considered the task before me on Saturday morning, I could all but taste the boiled peanuts I’d enjoy as the final course of my all-peanuts, all-the-time Saturday afternoon.

Alicia Brown of Allie’s Nuts told me she considers boiled peanuts “a Southern delicacy.” She said she recognizes that some folks don’t like boiled peanuts. (I call those people “wrong.”) It’s a texture thing for a lot of folks, she said.

“Whatever,” I said to myself. “Give me a big, steaming cup of texture.”

There we were, just me and my boiled peanuts — content and satisfied that the world was once again in balance — when I saw the sign:


I wouldn’t be worth my salt as a newspaper editor if I didn’t check such things out for you. And let’s be honest: There will always be boiled peanuts, but it’s only a matter of time before the authorities find out about fried PBJ sandwiches. And when they do, look for the fun police to shut the whole thing down.

Take my advice, hurry down to Peanut Fest and get yours while you still can. It’s a singularly delicious experience, a highlight of my favorite event of the year.