"Goober Peas"

Nov 12, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio

While looking up information about peanuts, I found an NPR story that included a YouTube video of Burl Ives and Johnny Cash singing “Goober Peas,” a song about the Confederate Army. Burl Ives tells the tale of Mr. Goober pulling up a peanut plant and giving it his name, while Johnny Cash said his grandfather called them ground peas.

At that time, peanuts weren’t considered a desirable food; this song reflects the hunger of the soldiers who were happy to be eating this nutritious legume. When peanuts made their return trip with enslaved people to the New World, their country of origin, goober was probably a corruption of the Kongo word nguba while pindar probably came from mpinda. Ground nuts, pindars, goobers, goober peas, groundpeas, all down home ways of talking about our now staple and healthy food – the peanut.