Peanuts In Cold Coca-Cola Is A Southern Snack Tradition

When it comes to fun food combinations, peanuts aren't too picky about who they pair up with. Peanut butter and jelly, of course, is an American classic, as are peanut butter and chocolate Reese's Cups and Peanut M&M's. But the peanut food combinations get far more interesting than that — according to the National Peanut Board, peanuts and pasta make for a satisfying combination, and peanuts and oatmeal are beneficial for heart health. Some have even consumed peanut butter with anchovies, cheese, and dill pickles, Peanut Butter Pleasure shares.

But venture down South, and you may find some peanut pairings you won't see anywhere else. This isn't surprising, as peanuts were a regional food before the Civil War, seen primarily in the South, according to the American Peanut Council. Peanuts came to the U.S. in the 1700s on ships bringing enslaved people over from Africa, but they only became a mainstream crop at the end of the 1800s. Boiled peanuts became a trendy party snack in the early 20th century, according to Southern Living, and today they're also enjoyed in the South in peanut butter and banana sandwiches. But what if you want to truly eat peanuts like a Southerner?

The working man's snack

Consuming peanuts and Coca-Cola together offers a unique twist on a sweet and salty combination; at least, that's what Southerners do. And no, we don't mean eating a handful of peanuts and then taking a sip of your soda. According to Southern Living, this classic Southern snack involves pouring peanuts straight into your bottle of Coca-Cola, then drinking it all together. The whole drink becomes an experience — ice-cold, sweet, fizzy Coke is followed by a salty crunch. You'll want to get full-sugar Coke and salted peanuts, Esquire shares, as Diet Coke and unsalted nuts don't have the same effect.

So who came up with this unique pairing? The answer isn't definitively known, but the National Peanut Board guesses that it was originally a working man's snack — drinking nuts out of Coke bottles may have kept workers' hands clean or allowed them to keep one hand free to work. What we do know, however, is that this combination likely originated in the 1920s, when single-serve peanut packets first became available in supermarkets (via Independent).

According to Southern Living, people in the South also like to pair their peanuts with Peach Nehi, a soda created in the 1920s that tastes like a juicy Georgia peach (via Instacart). But while it may be enjoyable to eat peanuts alongside sweet peach soda, there's nothing quite like drinking them out of a Coca-Cola bottle.