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Peanuts in pop, a sweet and salty memory from boyhood

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

In much of the South and some border states like Kentucky, we call it “peanuts in your pop” but in Georgia it’s always in your Coke and in Texas it better be in your Dr. Pepper. 

As I grew up in Hitchins, it most likely was in your Grapette or Orange Nehi or your Royal Crown (RC) cola. I usually got mine at Jack Prichard’s market or Vaughn McDavid’s general store. 

After a swig or two of the soft drink from a glass bottle, you pour in a package of salted peanuts and sit back and enjoy. 

Please don’t try it in a can because the nuts become too difficult to slide out. Also, seeing those tasty morsels floating in the bottle is part of the treat. 

Another requirement is that you cannot use a diet drink. Go for the real thing and let that salty taste help offset some of the sweetness because some soft drinks are sweeter than others. 

If you’re lucky, the concoction will fizz out of the bottle and you’ll get the foam as a bonus. 

The origin of this inspired method of enjoying two snack foods at the same time is unknown but it is believed this pairing has been happening since the 1920s. 

Some say that Southern farmers who couldn’t or wouldn’t take time for lunch would eat peanuts in their pop while on working in the fields. 

Drinking Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper or Pepsi or another carbonated beverage with salted peanuts is more than the genius of mixing sweet and salty flavors. 

Country singer Barbara Mandell admitted in 1981 in her smash hit song, “When Country Wasn’t Cool”, that she liked to put peanuts in her Coke when no one was looking. 

In addition to being a pleasant experience, it ties you into a tradition that has been around for generations. 

I’ve been doing it for longer than I can truly remember because I like the crunchiness that happens when you chew and sip. 

Most of all, I do it because it takes me back to happier, simpler and safer times.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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