On the Magic of Peanut Butter

September 30th, 2012 by Potato

Peanut butter is a truly magical substance. Like many people I have at one time or another tried to make it myself by blenderizing peanuts (and once tried to smoosh honey roasted peanuts in a failed attempt to create the world’s most delicious spread) and it is just not the same. This is reflected in the fact that there is peanut-butter-flavoured ice cream, but not peanut-flavoured ice cream: somehow the process of turning peanuts into peanut butter creates an all-new taste that is just that much better.

Yes, there’s sugar in there, but it’s not just that it’s sweeter. It goes with everything, a kind of universal compatibility that doesn’t just come from a little bit of sweetening. There’s the classic peanut butter and chocolate pairing, but as good as that is it doesn’t really demonstrate peanut butter’s intrinsic cooperative nature, since chocolate-covered peanuts are also good. Consider instead apples, jam, bacon (or so I am told), bananas, crackers, rice krispies, soy beans, and that mass of cellulose fibre that spans the border between food and building material: celery. Nothing made of mere matter could be so universally compatible, so delicious, and yet still contain nutrients.

I asked the question recently of some friends: what doesn’t go with peanut butter? And really all we came up with was laundry (indeed, I got some peanut butter on my shirt while eating apples writing this, and that’s going to need to be pre-treated).

In my head, the Kraft factory consists of large cauldrons of bubbling peanut mush, overseen by teams of witches who imbue it with that magical essence, channelling the vital incantations that transmute a mere collection of ground peanuts into something that is not of this realm. A magical substance composed more of the essence cooperation and taste than it is of sugar, protein, and fat.

I will leave you with one last combination that I thought was common-sense, but my sister (who learned it from me) says blew the mind of some of her friends: peanut butter and pop tarts. Just get yourself a frosted (or plain, though that defeats the point) pop-tart — I’m partial to raspberry but strawberry is every bit as good — toast as usual, and cover with peanut butter before eating. Breakfast is served!

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