20 October 2006

Found a Peanut

When my husband was out of town on business for a couple of weeks, I decided to seize this opportunity to buy items at the grocery that had piqued my interest - but that marriage (and my husband, the picky eater) had prevented me from trying thus far. Namely, organic peanut butter.

Initially, I was wary of the layer of oil on top and the abnormal speckles amidst all those squished peanuts. The label claimed this separation to be expected, but I was worried. And the fact that you had to stir it before spreading - and refrigerate after opening - was a little too high maintenance for my taste. I mean, isn't the joy of peanut butter the fact that it's virtually indestructible? This new all-natural variety was just so darn good for me (or so the packaging would have me believe), and I was curious. So I decided to give it a try.

I brought home this rather small but overpriced (so long, grocery budget!) jar of old-fashioned organic peanut butter, hardly able to contain my excitement about the inaugural PB and J. With each twist of the lid, my anticipation grew (never mind the hesitation upon coming face-to-face with that less-than-desirable liquid topping). As I spread this ooey-gooeyness, although considerably more clumpy, upon a slice of bread, I could almost taste its nutty sweetness mingled with whole grain oats and orange marmalade. At last, I raised the glorious sandwich to my lips, took an overzealous bite...and gasped in horror. Who forgot to put actual peanut butter in this jar? I almost screamed. What kind of an impostor is this? Whatever was on my sandwich was unacceptable. Completely unacceptable.

Needless to say, I broke off the relationship immediately. And really, I should've known better.

When I was growing up, my mother prepared my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with nothing but JIF. On crackers? Just JIF. With a freshly-peeled banana or crisp red apples? Only the best: JIF. To add a little kick to chocolate oatmeal cookies? You betcha - nothing but JIF. I even strayed from this tried and true relationship during my college years by switching to Simply JIF (with no added sugars), but that relationship was doomed for failure. Peter Pan couldn't keep me happy and Skippy...well, it lacked that extra zip. Store brands, although keeping my pockets padded, left my stomach feeling empty and abandoned. Each time I ventured out into the wide world of peanut butter, only to return to my beloved JIF.

My experiences have led me to conclude that this all-natural jazz is for the birds. Bring on the preservatives, the added sugars, the unpronouncable additives; I want them all! I love my JIF with all its imperfections, right down to the very last peanut, however smushed - or synthetic - it may be.

Perhaps that's why, when my husband brought home a jar of full-fat, full-sugar, fully-tasty JIF peanut butter the other day, I made no complaints. It pays to be picky on this one.

Author's aside: I have also discovered a new variation on this classic protein-filled treat, thanks to Rachael Ray. Peanut butter and bacon on banana nut bread. Sounds odd, I know, but it's out of this world. Give it a whirl, and let me know what you think.


howswede said...

an interesting combination of flavors! if it's anything like your strawberries and honey, i'll take a bite! love you, kmom

Cole said...

Actually, Jess, I just brought home MY first jar of organic PB the other day--stirred up, refrigerated, and kept going. I LOVE IT!!! And, it's so much better for me, too.

Maybe you should have stirred longer? Maybe I'm a freak?

Anonymous said...

I could have told you organic peanut butter was nasty. Catherine had some last year and I tried it on an apple. Not so hot.