Posts Tagged With: Peanut butter

163/365: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day

You might find yourself in a sticky situation if you celebrate today’s food holiday…but you’ll love it! June 12 is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day.

George Washington Carver may have had a confusingly Presidential name, but the agricultural teacher at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute was more interested in peanuts than politics. He advocated them as a replacement crop for cotton, which was being decimated by insects at the time. Carver published a cookbook in 1916 called How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumptionwhich might just win the award for Longest Cookbook Title Ever. The book contained three recipes for peanut cookies, all of which called for crushed or chopped peanuts. It wasn’t until a few years later that peanut butter was listed as an ingredient. Originally, the cookies were formed into balls, but these did not cook properly. Bakers began flattening the dough with forks, leading to the signature criss-cross marks so closely associated with peanut butter cookies. Pillsbury touted the use of a fork to make these waffle-like marks, when their recipe for Peanut Butter Balls was published in 1933. Cooks were instructed to press the cookies using fork tines. Alternative methods called for using a device called a cookie shovel, and then transporting them to the oven using a cookie wheelbarrow. Crumbs could be cleaned up using a cookie rake.

Our peanut butter cookies still contained crosshatch marks even though we didn’t make them from scratch. Instead, we opted for some Nutter Butters, which have the added advantage of being peanut butter cookies shaped like peanuts. Mr. Carver would be impressed.

Nutter Butter

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Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

92/365: National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day

Whenever you find yourself in a sticky jam, relax and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This childhood favorite is tasty, nutritious, and evokes fond memories for many of us. We are happy to celebrate National PB&J Day today!

Once upon a time, all you could get was a J sandwich: jelly has been around since the 15th century, while peanut butter didn’t make an appearance until late in the 19th century. In 1884, Marcellus Edson of Toronto filed a patent for a peanut paste “with a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment.” Dr. Ambrose Stroud of St. Louis decided that this peanut paste would be a great way of providing protein to elderly patients without teeth, and developed a machine that produced a more palatable version of peanut butter, which he patented in 1903. In the early 1900s, peanut butter was considered a delicacy, and could only be found in upscale tearooms in New York City, a favorite of the upper class (and those lucky toothless bastards in Missouri). Peanut butter was paired with many different ingredients early on, including cheese, pimento, celery, and watercress; in 1901, Julia Davis Chandler published a recipe for a PB&J sandwich, and a classic combination was born. By the 1920s, the price of peanut butter had dropped enough that it was no longer relegated to the filthy stinkin’ rich – even average citizens with teeth could enjoy the sticky treat. It became a favorite of children everywhere, and during World War II, both peanut butter and jelly were on the official military rations list.

I remember the first time I tried a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We were living in Hawaii, and I was 4 or 5 years old. The lady who owned the house where we lived took a liking to me and my brother, and made us PB&J sandwiches one day. This was a novelty to me: for some reason, my mom was more into bologna or tuna. I thought this sandwich was creamy, sweet, and delicious, and it became the first of many for me. Then again, everybody loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Right?

Not happy that today is National PB&J Day.

Not happy that today is National PB&J Day.

Ahh, Tara. One of the few people I know who is not enamored with peanut butter and jelly. To “celebrate,” she had peanut butter on a celery stick and toast with jelly.

As for me? I was always partial to chunky peanut butter and grape jelly, spread between two slices of white bread. So that was my lunch!

PB&J

Categories: Fruit, Nuts | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

60/365: National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day*

Today we had a sticky dilemma: should we pay homage to peanut butter or fruit compote? It’s Friday and we’ve got plans tonight, so we decided to go the easy route. Besides, January 24 was a dual food holiday, but we chose lobster thermidor over peanut butter then. Today makes up for it. Happy Peanut Butter Lover’s Day!

(The other holiday was just Peanut Butter Day. Today is more special. Like Virginia, it’s for LOVERS).

Then again, Tara doesn’t exactly “love” peanut butter, but that’s just a small technicality…

Several people claim to have invented peanut butter, but the Aztecs were the first to turn peanuts into paste, around 950 B.C. Boy, those guys had their hands in a lot of early foods, didn’t they? We can thank John Harvey Kellogg, the cereal baron, for attempting to modernize peanut butter: in 1895 he patented a process for creating peanut butter out of raw peanuts. He served this early version to patients at his sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan. “They’re gr-r-reat!!” these patients declared, but they were talking about Frosted Flakes. Kellogg’s nuts were steamed instead of roasted, which sounds painful and translated into a rather bland flavor profile. Dr. Ambrose Straub invented a better peanut butter making machine in 1903. In 1922 a chemist named Joseph Rosefield developed a process for making peanut butter that was smooth and creamy, and would keep fresh for a year. He sold his invention to Swift & Company, who changed their name soon after to Peter Pan. A few years later he was like, what have I done, this invention is a goldmine, and started his own company, Skippy, in 1932. In 1934 he created the first chunky peanut butter. In 1958 Procter & Gamble got in on the action by introducing Jif; now they operate the world’s largest peanut butter plant, churning out 250,000 jars a day.

Fun fact: a slang term for peanut butter during World War II was “monkey butter.” Whoever came up with that was bananas.

Today was a rare challenge that Tara and I completed separately, due to time constraints and work schedules. I had a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch (Extra Crunchy Skippy – thank you, Mr. Rosefield!), while she indulged in a Reese’s peanut butter-filled chocolate egg.

PB&J

Categories: Nuts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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