Biting into peanut shells vs. cracking with fingers (A cordial Takeout conversation)

Photo: Zzvet (iStock)

It has come to my attention that my colleague, Kate Bernot, has never cracked open a peanut shell with her teeth. I know this because when I mentioned this to her, she reacted with a horror as if she witnessed the Holy Ghost. What follows is a conversation over Slack of me attempting to expose her to the joys of peanut-crunching. We call this: Bridge-building.


Kevin Pang: Bernot. We were talking about peanuts, because well, we work at a site about food. And I had mentioned about the way that I ate peanuts—a way I’m certain many in the world do so—and you commented that you’ve never heard of that manner of eating peanuts before. Will you elaborate?

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Kate Bernot: Yep. I eat many a shell-on peanut (shout out to bars where you can crush them and throw the shells on the floor) but I’ve never bit into the peanut to crack its outer shell. I’m no Emily Post but it seems a little... uncouth.

To be clear: Throwing shells on the floor = fine

Biting peanut shells with your teeth = icky

KP: Frankly I’m a bit shocked that you’ve not experienced this in your life. This is one of the tactile pleasures of eating peanuts. The peanuts, I assure you, are “washed” before they’re roasted, and then they’re given a blast of salt on the exterior. No, obviously you’re not eating the shells, but you’re getting residual saltiness from the brief tongue-peanut contact.

You would also eat sunflower seeds the same way, right?

Then there’s also the satisfying tactile crack between the molars when you crack open a peanut.

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It’s a very small pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.

KB: Sunflowers seeds are encased in kernels, not shells, which seems like an important distinction? (Also, I don’t really like sunflowers seeds.)

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Here’s my question: So you crack the peanut between your back teeth and then... roll the shell across your tongue and spit the shell out of your mouth?

KP: Oh no.

You crack it just to crack it.

And then finish the deed with your fingers

Photo: Daisy-Daisy (iStock)
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KB: Seems like you could just cut out that part and use your hands the whole time? Just saying.

KP: The teeth cracking bit serves dual purposes—initiates the splitting process, and gives you a brief hit of salt.

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KB: You’ll still have salt on your fingers a bit, which transfers to the peanut when you eat it.

Bonus: No drool fingers

KP: I don’t believe in sucking on fingers, because I’m a germaphobe.

So with all these Takeout stories, we try to make something actionable. I guess the question is this, Kate Bernot: Will you try to bite a peanut shell open at least once, and report back?

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KB: On one condition: If I choke on a peanut shell, The Takeout will cover my medical costs, right?

KP: We’ll pay $75 towards the deductible.

KB: SOLD.

KP: Who are we, Eater?! Ahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahha hahahah ah hahahahahahah hahahahahaaahaaaha ha ahhaaaaaha

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About the author

Kevin Pang

Kevin Pang was the founder and editor-in-chief of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace on Netflix.

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.