The place was Duffy Street Seafood in Myrtle Beach. My 12-y.o. son stared at me from across the table, as his older brother and I munched peanuts from the beach sand bucket in the table center.
“Dad, what do peanuts taste like?”
I didn’t know what to say. I love peanuts and my older son has been a peanut butter sandwich connoisseur since he was a toddler. However, my younger son had a mild allergic reaction to peanuts back when he was in day care. It was treatable with OTC medication. My wife and I kept peanuts away from him. We thought for a while that our fears were overblown, but another incident a few years later confirmed it. Again, easily treatable, but a concern.
The truth is that his allergy isn’t severe. He can touch peanuts without a reaction. He just can’t eat them. People have suggested we have him tested, to see if there’s a limit or it was a kid thing. We haven’t yet. Two bouts with peanuts butter. Two reactions.
But how to answer his question?
I’m a writer I told myself. I’m used to describing things that can’t be seen. I try to incorporate all five senses in my writing. But on this one, I wasn’t sure what to say.
He could smell them. Would that be enough? I could tell him they’re salty, and that he’ll want to drink water if he eats peanuts (intimating that they’re kind of like potato chips.)
I could tell him that eating one isn’t enough (again, a potato chip reference). I could tell him they have almost no taste, but that doesn’t say anything. Peanuts are something that can be eaten by themselves. They’re not like tofu or grits, where they acquire the flavor of whatever is placed with them.
What would you say? How would you explain to a kid what a peanut tastes like?
Adding in a picture from Myrtle Beach (though it has nothing to do with Duffy Street Seafood).
Peanut picture courtesy of http://ed101.bu.edu/StudentDoc/Archives/ED101fa08/mbg/Intro.html .
Walt Mussell primaily writes historical fiction with inspirational and romantic elements. His favorite setting is medieval Japan and he refers to his writing as “Like ‘Shogun,’ but the heroine survives.” He also writes Biblical fiction and is working on a manuscript with a 19th century American setting. He has one published novella in the Christmas anthology, Hot Cocoa for the Heart.