Paean to Biled Pinders

Four decades ago while working for the Schindlers in West Palm Beach, Florida, I became entranced (addicted might be too strong a description) with fresh, steaming biled pinders.  Our shop was in a small industrial section — “industrial park” would be too formal — a few blocks long and wide, adjacent to an older residential neighborhood.  The finishing room was right on the street; literally when I opened the garage door next to the spray booth I could step right out onto the street.

A couple times a week a misshaped tiny black man would walk the streets of the shops pushing a shopping cart with small steaming bags of biled pinders.  My coworker Dewayne was always there to greet him, and after my first hit I was too.  I cannot recall the vendor’s name but remember him as being nearly ebullient in his cheer despite his physical condition.  It was a struggle for him to get around but I truly admired him for his desire to remain not dependent on anyone, he was making his own way the best he could.   It was a powerful example for me to see, one the culture has long since forgotten I fear.

I do not know where he prepared the biled pinders — fresh, raw green peanuts cooked for hours in boiling saltwater — but I looked forward to the twice a week food of the gods.  We always bought some, and always stopped what we were doing to eat them immediately.  If you get hot fresh biled pinders you take advantage of the moment.

The hook was set, and even to this day when we travel to Florida the odds are good I will stop somewhere to get a bag.  The girls think they are disgusting, but what to they know?  The eat cilantro, the inedible herb that tastes like soap laced with metal flakes!

So last week we went over to the orthopedist’s for the two-week post-op checkup, and since we were venturing to the big city Mrs. Barn took advantage of the proximity to go grocery shopping.  While I can spend hours in a hardware store or lumber mill, grocery and clothes shopping are in the neighborhood of Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell to me.  I waited in the car, resting my hip and listening to podcasts.

When Mrs. Barn emerged one of the treats she had for me was a bag of boiled peanuts.  I finally was able to partake of the splendor as she warmed them for my afternoon snack today.  It was the very definition of decadence, sitting in my recliner while my sweetie brought me a bowl of this earthy delight.  I offered her some, but she took one taste and said, “They taste and smell just like you are eating dirt.”

Au contraire, it was leguminous-ly divine.