Bakery Bulletin by Philippa Kelly: The glorious goo that is peanut butter

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Peanut butter is the elixir of life.

If Monty Python or Indiana Jones had ever found the holy grail, they’d have found it full of peanut butter.

Edvard Munch’s classic painting, The Scream, depicts someone being told that the shop has sold out of peanut butter. Mona Lisa has no eyebrows because she shaved them off when her peanut butter ran out. Ok, so none of the above can be proven, yet nor can it be disproved. Apart from the Mona Lisa bit - that’s an anachronism, as peanut butter wasn’t patented until 1884.

There is evidence of peanut butter being based on an Aztec recipe for toothache, but still, I might have taken it too far with Mona and The Scream.

If there were gods, and if they ate food, they’d eat peanut butter.

It tastes good on bread, toast, matzos, croissants, spoons, fingers, and the floor.

Despite America’s gun laws, questionable voting, and daily assault on the purity of the English language, when it comes to peanut butter, they know the score.

Americans buy almost a billion dollars worth of peanut butter a year, and that’s not even counting the Reese’s Pieces, Cups, Whipps, Swoops, Sticks, and everything else Reese’s fills with the glorious goo.

The holder of the original patent for peanut butter wasn’t an American, but a Canadian. Marcellus Gilmore Edson milled roasted peanuts into a paste and added sugar.

His brother invented the light bulb. Not really - that was Edison, silly. I makes all the difference. And I makes cakes.

The next peanut butter patent was obtained fourteen years later by John Harvey Kellogg. Yes, as in Tony the Tiger’s dad.

Patent number three belongs to Dr Ambrose Straub, who invented a peanut butter machine in 1903, and patent number four is Joseph Rosefield’s.

Joseph created the first smooth peanut butter while working in somebody else’s peanut butter company. In 1932, he started his own peanut butter company: Skippy.

China and India produce most of the world’s peanut butter stash, with America in third place. The majority of America’s peanut butter is made in Georgia and Texas, and over half the American crop of peanuts is used to make peanut butter. Presumably the rest goes to Reese’s, or in those red, dangly, netted bags that birds ignore.

Peanut butter is full of protein, vitamin E, B6, and loads of other stuff that’s good for you. Unless you’re allergic, and then it’s full of death.

In the Netherlands, it’s called pindakaas which means “peanut cheese”. At the time of naming, butter, or “boter”, was legally protected so that a product called butter had to actually contain butter.

I can’t help thinking that more thought should have gone into which word to use in place of butter. Cream, paste, and spread would all sound better than cheese. Secretion would sound better than cheese.

In the Second World War, peanut butter was called monkey butter. Not in Holland though.

Everyone who’s anyone loves peanut butter. Even my dog likes peanut butter. In fact, so does the cat. I should Google that actually - I’m not sure it’s safe for him... Oh dear. Google says no.

Everyone who’s anyone loves peanut butter. Even my dog. Not the cat though, because if cats ingest too much peanut butter it will result in vomiting and diarrhoea, and even the smallest amount of peanut butter can stick to your cat’s throat and may cause him to choke, and I’m a responsible pet owner, so would always check something like that before just offering him my peanut butter laden finger...