Driving on 400 West past the Downtown Farmers Market in 2010, a man stopped his SUV after seeing a hand-painted sign that read “Boiled P-Nuts.” He walked to the stand, dropped to his knees and, with head skyward, said, “Thank you, God!”
“That’s actually happened a couple of times,” says Chris ’n’ Dave’s Boiled Peanuts owner Dave Mathison (pictured), laughing.
Much of the fare Southerners truly love and have pride in isn’t regularly found out west—maybe it does warrant a “Hallelujah!”
However, in the South, boiled-in-the-shell peanuts are a gas-station impulse purchase. Often, they’re overly salty and soggy, the outcome of a hot multi-day brine bath. Occasionally, however—maybe at a barbecue—someone boils peanuts fresh, and they’re succulent and addictive.
Although Mathison isn’t a Southerner, he does right by Southern standards—perhaps because his father, who inspired him, is from the region. “Growing up, I had no idea it was a Southern delicacy. I thought my dad was the only person in the world to make them,” he says.
Mathison doesn’t need to use a family recipe, though. The ingredients are peanuts and salt. “It’s pretty simple, really. That’s the original,” Mathison says, adding that there’s also a Cajun variety. He began selling on the Western Nut property in 2010 during the Downtown Farmers Market. This year, he made it into the market proper, and his booth is located on 400 South. Prices are $3 for 12 ounces and $5 for 20 ounces.
For Mathison’s customers—Southerners excluded—his peanuts are exotic, novel and gourmet. His friends are of different mind: “They say they go great with cold PBRs,” Mathison says. The peanuts can also be paired with a cold pour from one of Utah’s brewers during the City Weekly Beer Festival on Aug. 27, where Chris ’n’ Dave’s is a vendor.