Boiled goober peas and an ice-cold Nehi — or peanuts and a soda, to those of us not from the American South — are a beloved snack below the Mason-Dixon. In The Bitter Southerner, James Beard-award winning writer Shane Mitchell offers a history of and paean to this most versatile and nutritional of ground nuts and to the region where it’s grown, correcting a few peanut myths along the way.

George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter. That’s one of those conflated facts taught in grade school, much like everyone still believing the earth was flat in the 15th century when Columbus discovered America. Actual first honors go to a Canadian, Marcellus Gilmore Edson, who was issued U.S. Patent No. 306727 for his “flavoring paste” to be used in the manufacture of “peanut-candy” on October 21, 1894. (Pre-Columbian Aztecs also pounded peanuts into a paste, so nothing is…

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