And while the pink jars of pigs feet or pickled eggs are increasingly rare at your standard Southern Shell station, I remember them well from my childhood. Many a high school bet was hedged on eating those eggs, much to the confusion of our grandparents, members of the Greatest Generation and children of the Depression, to whom pickled eggs were not just sustenance, but a delicacy. I can remember reacting with surprise to the fact that my grandmother had eaten those pink eggs, floating in their mystery liquid, not once, but many times. "They're not bad," she told me, which, coming from my grandmother, meant they were very good.
The store lunch also lives on in bags of homemade cracklins soaking grease through parchment paper, baskets of hard-boiled eggs, and kettle warmers full of spicy boiled peanuts, which are always stacked by the register at any gas station worth its salt alongside I-10. For Southerners, these finger foods are impulse buys; to our northern friends, they're abominations. "You're going to eat that?" they ask us.