Thursday, March 30, 2006

Peanut Butter Is A Many Splendored Thing

Family Update: The last few Weaver weeks haven’t been too busy - I've watched lots of basketball, Jeff has studied, I've beat Jeff in tennis (sorry..had to say it), and we hit the studio with the band to lay down tracks for our 2nd song. It's still got some tweaking to do, but we're pretty excited about it. I'll try to post a clip when one of the 2 is nailed down. No news of upcoming gigs as of now.

Tonight, I tended to a sick husband. To join his spirit’s solemnity in remembrance of his father’s death 12 years ago today, Jeff’s body took a day of rest. It started as a 103 degree fever and has declined in severity to a bad throat-ache and lots of soup and saltines. Two years into this marriage thing and only a few sicknesses later, I’m still learning whether I’m to coddle him like a mommy or just get the heck out of the way. I think a certain amount of coddling is called for (held in good balance with getting the heck out of the way).

Ode to Peanut Butter.
I started this post with a restaurant review, but I scrapped it because I got distracted trying to get peanut-butter from the roof of my mouth. Nothing says midnight like some toast smothered with peanut butter topped with raisins or dried cranberries. Mmm.

Peanut Butter is a national past time. It’s like baseball…without the steroids. Throughout the world there are wine connoisseurs, coffee snobs and cigar aficionados. I wouldn’t necessarily use any of the above adjectives to describe my relationship with peanut butter. However, based on our sheer consumption, both Jeff and I could use the less admired descriptor, peanut butter addict.

Tonight I indulged in Jif – straight-forward creamy style. While I like the notion of chunky, its just hard to spread and you end up eating lots more I think. For the value I find Jif creamy to be good, spreadable, and much nuttier tasting that generic versions of the same ilk. Hydrogenated oils and other odd additives aside, Jif Creamy is good eating.

The ultimate in my opinion is, Smuckers’ All Natural Creamy. You know the stuff with the big oil pool at the top when you open it. True, I have to work at a new jar with a knife for a good 5 minutes. Its a careful mixing process - combine the oil and peanuts while not spilling the fragrant peanut oil on myself and suddenly smelling like a Chic Fil A cook. I keep a jar of this golden splendor at work, which is probably feeds the habit to have it so handy..oh well. I must note that I have also tried generic brands of Natural Peanut Butter, Publix, Target, Kroger…none compare to Smuckers. The others get dry and crumbly at the bottom of the jar and don’t have the salty, yet nutty sweetness of the Smuckers. It is so rich in flavor in fact, that I probably use less of it than I would of conventional creamy PB.

I missed my Smuckers while in France last fall…but we were not totally deprived of our favorite food/condiment (?). Mississippi Belle Peanut Butter was one brand we discovered in France - the ONLY brand we found in France actually. Who knows how long it sat on the shelves of that Nantes supermarket before we stumbled upon it. After all, the notion of making a spread of cacahuetes is rather revolting to the French. Intestine sausages: A-okay. Peanut spread: Degoutant! Found snuggled in between locally grown honey and Nutella, Mississippi Belle was our comfort food. Great on left-over baguette for breakfast, as a dip for digestives (a favorite cookie of ours that we smuggled from the UK) or just plain by-the-spoonful eating.

Mississippi Belle peanut butter is imported to Europe – chalk up one for US food product exports! Chipping away at our whopping trade deficit one American in Paris at a time. I heard that to object US foreign policy decisions, the French were smearing the streets with Peanut Butter. Mmmm….foreign policy protests.. ;-)

And speaking of protests – check out CNN or the BBC coverage of the massive protests you may or may not have heard about in France. Unrest is alive in well in many French cities, including Nantes,where within the last few days around 40,000 students, teachers and workers have taken to the very streets we walked a few months ago. This is a very critical time for France.

In Closing...
Odd things that Peanut-butter addicts like us combine with peanut butter…
  • Jeff – Cottage cheese, honey, peanut butter.
  • Jeff ‘s family – Pizza, applesauce and PB
  • Katie & Jeff – carrots dipped in PB, bananas n PB, apples n PB, celery w/ PB & raisins...
  • Katie – Oatmeal with cream, strawberries, and PB

You may have some favorite brands, other nut spreads or odd combinations with Peanut Butter. Feel free to share.


Annie said...

Should be working, but reading a Katie missive is MY guilty pleasure! I love that you can get that much mileage out of good ol' PB - and thanks for sharing the Smuckers, now that I know how "golden" it is to you, I feel the love! :)
annie PS. Sleep well tonite!

anaxx said...

Favorite peanut butter sandwich combinations:

Sharp Cheddar Cheese (mmmmm...)

Anonymous said...

for the record the natural varieties (Smuckers if necessary, store ground ideal) will ruin any typical PB, once you've tried them.

Don't even think about almond, walnut, etc...magic food.

PB is also the magic ingredient in any good smoothie IMO...

Anon rock Star ;)

Katie W. said...

Thanks for the PB advice. Yep, I remember when my mom would bring home that Harry's ground-while-you-watch it Peanut butter. It is really good.

As for the Cheddar cheese recomendation, anaxx, that's rather odd. But I just can't rule out it's goodness. After all, I eat cheddar cheese with apple pie. I think it's a Canadian thing...thanks mum.

Oh, and I forgot to mention while eating a PB snack. excellente.

Anonymous said...

You are speaking my language, girl!

I'll have to second the cheddar cheese and peanut butter thing. Yummy. Done it since I was a kid.

I'll also second the motion on the Whole Foods nothin' but ground up peanuts variety. I have some in my pantry right now. I never have to refridgerate it because it never lasts in my house that long.

Agreed, P'nut butter is the must do ingredient in a homemade smoothie.

Laura Hawkins
PS, cheddar cheese with pie (even melted on top) is also a northern thing which makes sense being that the northern US is next to Canada.

Anonymous said...

Seriously Jeff Cottage Cheese and Peanut Butter has to be the most discusting thing I have ever heard of and I am Japanese!!!

Anonymous said...

disgusting?? See I am Japanese Can't spell. Love you Katie and Jeff.

Gregory Bloom said...

I like bacon & peanut butter sandwiches. But there are a lot of yummy permutations, including the one that Elvis made famous, the "Fool's Gold Loaf".

plandelle said...

Bonjour Katie,
I am french - from Blois, you know the Loir valley and the castles...)and I love peanut butter. True enough at CORA the famous supermarket, you'll find the Mississippi Belle crunchy product but others as well from developping countries but sometimes you wonder if there are peanuts in them.
With regards to strikes, nobody pays any attention anymore. It happens everyday and in all sectors of our administration to the extent that we have learnt to do without the services that we pay for... It's not so much a bad time for France we are not doing too bad all things considered. France is not governable, the french are arrogant and grouchy and lazy and all of this combined makes the past, present, and future situation.


ps As far as spreading peanut butter on the street to protest against US politics. No way. It's a hoax. The majority does know it exists. Even at the peak of the peak of our love affair when the General de Gaule was around we never did that.