The Southern Way To Drink Coca-Cola (It's So Much Better)

It's my mom's 2-ingredient snack.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images

I've never been much of a Coca-Cola drinker. My childhood soda of choice was Mountain Dew (I hope my dentist isn't reading this), and as an adult, I pretty much stick to water and coffee. Coke is just a bit too sweet for my taste buds. Except when I drink it the way my mom taught me.

My mom's favorite, less cloying way to drink a Coke is straight out of her 1970s childhood. She grew up on a tobacco farm, and farm chores were a daily part of life, particularly in the summer, when she worked in the garden and fields on even the muggiest days.

My Mom's 2-Ingredient Snack

All that hard, sweaty work was rewarded from time to time with permission to ride her bike about a mile and a half to the closest general store for an afternoon snack. Her father bought fertilizer and other farm supplies at this same store, where he kept a tab that he would pay off every year after harvest. My mom was allowed to put her snack on his tab, which felt really special to her as a kid.

Her go-to refreshment for those hot, humid days was a pack of salted peanuts and a ten-ounce glass bottle of Coca-Cola kept "cold as ice" in an old-fashioned drink cooler with a sliding glass top. The total for both items came to about 30 cents (as she remembers).

This all sounded pretty standard to me until my mom explained her method of eating this combo—she would take a couple sips of the Coke to make room in the bottle, pour the packet of peanuts into it, drink the Coke, and then eat the Coke-soaked peanuts.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

Why This Snack Works

This snack's genius lies in its sweet-savory push and pull. The salt from the peanuts infuses the soda, toning down its sweetness and drawing out its other flavors. Coke is actually quite a complex-tasting drink, with notes of warm spices, vanilla, and citrus peel. Just like salt makes everything from cucumbers to steak taste more like itself, salt added to a Coke highlights these flavors, making it a much more balanced drink.

The peanuts, on the other hand, soak up just a little of the Coke's flavors but retain most of their crunch. They provide a satisfying crunch while you're drinking the Coke, and a rewarding finish to the snack as you tip up the bottle to get every last one.

My mom said that her mother taught her about this snack combination, but it's thought to have been invented in the 1920s by farm laborers who wanted a revivifying snack they could eat without having to stop their work and wash their hands.

Tips for Enjoying My Mom's 2-Ingredient Snack

The size of the Coke is key here. If you want to try this snack at home, look for Coca-Cola in eight-ounce bottles rather than 12-ounce ones (the 10-ounce bottles of my mom's youth are no longer available), and use about a quarter cup of roasted salted peanuts. Trader Joe's blister peanuts are my favorite for their superior crunch and perfect salt level.

Finally, this snack should be consumed fairly quickly, as it tastes best when the soda is very cold and the peanuts are still crunchy. Don't dilly-dally with this treat.

This snack is like a DIY electrolyte replacement beverage for a hot summer afternoon when you've been working in the yard or garden, thanks to the sugar in the Coke and the salt from the peanuts. And when you think of it that way, my mom's snack makes perfect sense. It wasn't just a delicious sweet and salty treat. It was a feel-good energy boost during a long day of hard work.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.