Peanut Butter is made by mashing roasted peanuts together with some salt. It is coloured brown and is pasty in texture with a distinct flavour of peanuts. In the US, it is most often eaten with 'jelly'* in a sandwich.
Varieties of peanut butter include the 'old fashioned' style that is made with just peanuts and salt; and the newer and more common variety that has sugar added. Additionally, both old fashioned and sugar varieties come in both chunky and creamy styles indicating the presence or absence of peanut chunks. It is also possible to get freshly-ground peanut butter at most grocery stores within the US, however, these are rarely as satisfying as ready-made types due to the fact that they either contain almost no salt or way too much, but never the right amount.
Peanut Butter's Place in the American Diet
Peanut butter can easily qualify as a staple of the American diet. It would be a rare thing indeed to find a household that didn't have a supply on hand. Pretty much everyone raised in America grew up on a steady diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Most American parents know that when all else fails, kids will readily eat peanut butter, which may explain why even the fanciest of restaurants in the US also keeps a supply of peanut butter on hand for just those sort of dietary emergencies.
Because of its high fat and protein content and the fact that it does not need to be refrigerated, it is the perfect food to take with you if you have to evacuate your home because of some natural disaster.
The Origins of Peanut Butter
The origins of peanut butter are fairly vague although the first patent was submitted in 1895 by the Kellogg brothers who were using it as a vegetarian source of protein for patients at their Western Health Reform Institute sanatorium.
The Kellogg brothers discarded the production of peanut butter in favour of cereals, and Joseph Lambert, one of their former employees, took up the baton. In 1896 he started selling the machines to grind peanuts and three years later his wife published the first nut cookbook.
However, it wasn't until the Universal Exposition of 19041 that peanut butter became commonly known, when a businessman named CH Summer introduced it to the American nation at large. In 1908 Krema Products started selling peanut butter and still do to this day, making them the oldest peanut butter company still in operation.
Peanut butter as we know it today first appeared in 1922 when Joseph L Rosefield started to churn the butters to make them smoother than his contemporaries' products. Shortly afterwards he received the first patent for a shelf-stable peanut butter. Prior to that the butter would separate and the peanut oil would need to be stirred back in.
Peanut Butter fast became a firm American favourite and the USA is the home of the largest factory in the world, producing around 250,000 jars of peanut butter a day!
How to Eat Peanut Butter
- Eat it from the jar.
- Eat it in sandwiches.
- Eat it in cookies.
Alternative uses for Peanut Butter
Use it to fill in holes in your walls.
Insert into brass instruments to make new and interesting sounds.
Use it as textured eyeshadow.
Let it dry out and use it as Silly Putty.
Use it to stick posters to the wall.
Give a few dozen jars to the astronauts to play with in zero gravity.
Mix it with egg whites and ammonia to see if it takes out stains.
Make sure you have some under your fingernails when going on a first date.