Florida State's Jimbo Fisher is a national championship-winning coach, but his popularity is just now spiking after bringing an old southern tradition to national light.
NBC's "The Today Show" hosts Kathi Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb are the latest to experiment with salted peanuts in a glass bottle of Coke, referencing Florida State's Fisher as the reason for the seemingly puzzling mixture's popularity (around the 4:30 mark).
At the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Monday, Fisher opened his session with the media with a bit of nostalgia, reminiscing about dumping peanuts in his Coke bottles while growing up in West Virginia. As reporters queried Fisher as to its origin and, frankly, as to why, Fisher was shocked there were some who have never heard of it.
Three separate times during his interview Fisher discussed the southern ... drink? snack? treat? When I asked about it midway through, he responded, "How about that -- people didn't know about putting peanuts in a Coke. You believe that? This generation now. Golly."
If it's an old southern tradition, credit Fisher's ranting for raising its profile north of the Mason-Dixon line and west of Texas.
"It's very salty sweet. I get it," Gifford said after trying it during Friday morning's segment.
Last year, Coca-Cola published an article trying to trace the history of the combination. I won't spoil the theories for you.
And as word spread in Tallahassee, Florida, of Fisher's repartee with the media, local restaurant and bar Madison Social, which sits in the shadow of Doak Campbell Stadium, picked up a bottle of peanuts and some Coke, Diet Coke and orange soda. The orange soda is a wrinkle in all of this -- who would have thought there would be layers -- as former coach Bobby Bowden supposedly drops his peanuts into orange soda bottles.
Madison Social tweeted a picture of the ingredients, and general manager Jason Walker said they were offered free samples to customers Tuesday.
"Some people loved it, some people hated it. It was a good reaction," said Walker, who said it tastes like vanilla Coke to him. "It brought some people in and made them aware of it, and it's becoming a thing around Tallahassee people are starting to do."
If Nick Saban wears the Luigi hat, then maybe we can get Fisher in the Planters Mr. Peanut top hat and monocle.
— Jared Shanker (@JShankerESPN) July 22, 2014