Scientists just love giving different names to things that appear similar or the same. For instance, a mouse is not a rat. A lake is not a pond. A tree is not a bush. A cat is not a mosquito. That last one might seem obvious, but they both are really irritating and sneak up on you when you’re not paying attention for an attack. These distinctions are fine for inside their labs because there are of course many little differences in such things, and being able to differentiate can help them play with their beakers and syringes more efficiently. So many names, though! Outside the lab they can be so irritating to rest of us. Especially when that snooty guy interrupts with his jerk hole corrections like,
You know, actually a tomato is considered a fruit, not a vegetable.
The same trend occurs when scientists want to group many of a specific species together. Then we’ve got dogs grouping into packs. Dolphins swimming in a pod. Birds flying in flocks. Fish combining into a school. Turtle eggs being laid in a clutch.
So let’s get all the snootiness out of the way, right up front. A peanut is classified as a legume, but it is also considered a member of the fruit family. When peanuts travel together, they either do so in a bag, a can or a cluster. A cluster of peanuts is formed when a sweet confection is melted across the many peanuts which, when the ingredients cool, a single entity is the result.
Alright, so besides all that, a peanut cluster is traditionally just peanuts surrounded by a lot of, what is usually, chocolate. Not that complex, let’s face it. So, how do we make it something for a “holiday?” Well, considering my very last candy shop closed last month, I was the most very pleased that I could be that Publix had some fairly home-made(ish) looking peanut clusters in their little Brach’s bins. You know what was awesome, though? Their version had caramel all mixed in there!
Look people, if you’re going to add chocolate, please just go ahead and add some freaking caramel! No one dislikes caramel. Really, they don’t. Why would you not add caramel? I mean, peanut brittle is basically peanuts in hardened, crunchy caramel, so let’s just do this thing! I mean, I’m not asking for an auto-in for something crazy like nougat or wasabi, just caramel.
Face it, peanut clusters are never considered as a viable snack option, except by sweets catererers trying to fill a $100 dessert plate order with the least expensive items. In 2013, however, Peanut Cluster Day falls on a Friday, so when it rolls around, give these guys a chance to jump into your plans. Sure, can they could show up to your party in a can or a bag, but they’d really rather travel in their most natural grouping, the cluster. Just let it happen… and if you can work some caramel in that mess, there will be some serious self-back patting later no. Trust me.
See you Friday for National Crabmeat Day!