|Peanut Soup Mix|
History shows that peanuts have been around since the Incan Empire. Peanuts are a well-traveled legume. European explorers made their acquaintance in the Caribbean. Spaniards exported them, carrying them on ships to the Philippines and Indonesia. The Portuguese - who discovered peanuts in Brazil, not far from the legume's Peruvian birthplace - took peanuts to Africa, where the nutritious, hardy legume fed the nation's sailors stationed along the coast. Peanuts are thought to have been brought to America by the Portuguese slave traders who served peanuts while they were in transit.
“Peanuts were certainly eaten by slaves before they were eaten by whites”, says Frank Clark, who oversees the historic foodways program at Colonial Williamsburg, which for decades has served peanut soup to guests of the museum’s King’s Arms tavern – despite the dish being a culinary anachronism. “If you’d come to an 18th-century tavern, it’s very unlikely you’d have encountered peanut soup there,” Clark says. Although there is no documentary evidence of peanut soups being served in 18thy century America, it is believed that the slave diet would have included peanut soups, mushes and stews, perhaps styled after the tomato-based soups popular in central Africa or a Sudenese soup made with lamb bones, garlic and rice. Still, the soup - which marks many northerners' first introduction to creamy peanuts in a bowl - will stay on the menu, since Colonial Williamsburg is obliged to honor its own history as well as the record of what occurred during the Colonial era. bones, garlic and rice.
n 1941, the National Peanut Council published a collection of peanut soup recipes from George Washington Carver. He is believed to have had the largest collection of peanut soup recipes during that time, including recipes for peanut bisque, peanut soups, a consommé, and purees.