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a life in peanut butter

April 13th, 2011 | 11 Comments »

What goes best with peanut butter? Or maybe the question should be rephrased…..

What doesn’t go with peanut butter? And please, include your combinations.

Because this is all about the most ubiquitous spread available, the one that gleans passionate outbursts from even the most stoic souls, a food that fuels both bodies and debates -chunky or creamy, and which brand?- and even scorn, although I’ve only met a few people who turn up their noses at smoothly ground peanuts.

I love smooth and creamy peanut butter, always have. I won’t pass by a jar of good chunky PB, and if it’s all that’s available then I’ll take one for the team. I’m not picky about texture too much. But I’ve found that I can’t go more than a day and a half without consuming peanut butter. At all. I panic when the jar runs low in our house, or if we don’t have the right brand at our lake home in the summer. And I’m specifically loyal about my PB to a toddler tantrum, foot stamping fault; it’s got to be natural peanut butter. Hands down. All that ‘Take one for the team’ talk about eating chunky if I have to? It doesn’t apply to commercial peanut butter that tastes like thick brown paste. I grew up eating natural peanut butter and mourn the loss of Real brand PB from the stores. Thank goodness Parker Farms is a perfectly good option because the more well-known varieties (and I won’t name names; y’all know what types I’m talking about) will never grace my kitchen nor pass my lips.

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve paired a lot of other foods with peanut butter. Out of curiosity, for the most part, and sometimes out of boredom and even necessity. Peanut butter is perfect poor-man’s food, like only a college kid can be. And when perusing your empty fridge late at night, your body in need of something substantial to carry you to morning, peanut butter becomes your go-to food, and in order to make that snack stick, sometimes you end up getting a little creative. And over the years, I’ve dabbled with a lot of interesting and varied combinations.

~~PB and a fried egg. On toast. It’s not bad. And for many years in college it was a staple for breakfast. These days, however, not so much.

~~PB and bacon. Oh yes. Crisp crackling pork, creamy PB that melts on your warm toasted bread. This is killer good, and even my Teen fell hard for it. However, due to it’s not so stellar nutritional outcome, it’s a rare treat these days.

~~PB and tuna. Ugh. Skip it. Trust me.

~~ PB and grated apple. Perfect, as we all know that dunking a thick slice of crunchy apple into peanut butter is almost a religious experience. Grate that apple, squeeze out the liquid and spread it on your toast. Add a shake of cinnamon if you dare. Divine. You might hear angels singing.

~~PB and crushed potato chips, or a Chip Butty, according to Susan’s Encyclopedia of Sandwiches. If you didn’t do this as a kid, raise your hand. I’d like to know you, and then maybe convince you of what you’re missing. Better yet, crush Doritos on your PB. Eeeek. Did I just say that?

~~PB and bananas. Oh Elvis, you really were on to something, weren’t you? I love PB toast, topped with sliced bananas and a shake of cinnamon sugar.

~~PB and Nutella. Although I can easily see that this would be swoon worthy, not being on the Nutella bandwagon leaves me in the dark. I’m sure it’s amazing though. Anyone can attest to this?

~~PB and jelly. What’s your pleasure? Grape jelly? Strawberry? I kind of like both, but lately, it’s got to be blueberry preserves in my PB&J.

~~PB and honey. Even better…. this combination is far and away my absolute favorite. Especially when the honey soaks into the bread and the edges get a little crunchy. Oh my, there go the singing angels again.

~~PB and green olives. I have my Mom to thank for this one. Ever since I was a kid, and she handed me a PB sandwich stuffed with split green olives (sans the pimento) I have been hooked on this oddity. Nowadays, I scoop up a container of Sicilian olives from the gourmet olive bar at the grocers, speckled with mustard seeds and mouth puckering with a tangy vinaigrette. These massive meaty green olives snap against the salty smooth taste of the peanut butter, creating an odd flavor combination that is wildly addicting. If you’ve got an adventurous palate, try it out. But I warned you.

~~PB and mayo. Tried it once and it made the hair on my neck stand up. I tossed the remaining sandwich in the trash and promptly brushed my teeth. Some things just aren’t meant to marry. But PB and cream cheese? Oh my……

But then there’s those items that have been smeared with peanut butter as just a random means to enjoy my favorite spread; banana bread and tea breads of every style and flavor, pancakes, celery sticks (without the raisins- blergh) pretzels, marshmallows, coffee cakes, muffins of all kinds, scones, my most favorite butternut squash biscuits, grapes, strawberries, melon…. and likely more than I can remember. There really isn’t much that I won’t pair with PB, even if just to try out something new.

So tell me…. what’s your favorite way to enjoy peanut butter? Do you like creamy? Crunchy? Which brand do you buy? Are you loyal to that brand? And why do you like it?