"There's nothing like unrequited love to take all the flavor out of a peanut butter sandwich." ~ Charlie Brown
Always oily, sticky and gloppy, creamy to extra chunky, pedigreed-and-pricey or down-and-dirty-cheap-o -- who among us doesn't just completely dig the taste of peanut butter?
(Of course, that's part of why the recent avalanche of peanut recalls has so many concerned parents and others upset. In fact, already as of this morning there have been four more peanut recalls. Nearly 300 brands of peanut-based products have announced recalls due to fears of salmonella contamination since Feb. 1, and dozens more were announced in January. Affected items include jars of peanut butter, energy bars, cookies, candies, baked goods, processed foods, dog treats and more. Get a full list here.)
Because of its immense popularity, peanut butter is one of our nation's numero-uno delicacies. It's so beloved that the month of March is now named National Peanut month. (Unfortunate for those who suffer from Arachibutyrophobia -- the hysteria from peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. But most especially unfortunate for the millions who suffer from allergies to nuts!) Interestingly, November is also Peanut Butter Lover's Month.
By 1903, Dr. George Washington Carver, considered by many to be the Father of the Peanut Industry, began his peanut research at the Tuskegee Institute. Peanut butter had already been invented before Carver began his horticultural experiments, but many wrongly credit him as being the Father of Peanut Butter. Despite missing out on that really big patent opportunity, the ingenious Dr. Carver did, however, create hundreds of uses for the luscious legume.
Today, the West Coast of the United States prefers chunky, while the East Coast favors creamy brands, but regardless of texture, the average American boy will have consumed approximately 1,500 peanut butter sandwiches by the age of 18. And just one acre of peanuts supplies enough of the legumes to manufacture 30,000 sandwiches.
Today, millions of people pine for peanut butter, and while it's a common staple in most homes, and it's relatively inexpensive, it's not just a condiment for kids. For instance, Demi Moore cures her sugar cravings by snacking on peanut butter, Al Roker has a spoonful of peanut butter every morning, and second First Daughter Sasha Obama loves her daily dose of peanut butter as well. Although it's virtually every kid's bread and butter, other well-known "Big Kid" fans include Barbara Walters, Bill Clinton, Billy Joel, Cher, Jack Nicholson, Julia Roberts, Larry King, and even Madonna.
My partner, Richard (whose favorite brand happens to be 'Crazy Richard's'), easily downs half a jar of the stuff with a spoon every afternoon, while I, on the other hand, enjoy a double-decker peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Using three slices of bread, I smear peanut butter (chunky style, of course!) on the inside of the two outer slices, followed by spreading jelly or jam onto both sides of the inner slice. Sounds complicated but making it this way eliminates the outside of the sandwich from ever becoming soggy. (Truth be told, it also eliminates my need for a second peanut butter and jelly sandwich!)
But if you happen to get a glop on more than your knife, spoon or bread, remove peanut butter stains from just about any non-porous surface by scraping it up and then wiping it away with warm sudsy water. For excess oil, pile on the baking soda. Sprinkle the area liberally, wait for about ten minutes, wipe away the excess and you're good to go.
Nutritious and versatile, glop-alicious and good, this month make Dr. Carver proud -- remember to go nuts over peanut butter.
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