The grocery store didn't have my Peter Pan peanut butter. So I bought Skippy peanut butter, instead.
Peanut butter is one of those food items in which name brand is a necessity, like ice cream and salad dressing and water. Generic-brand peanut butter? Blah. Tastes like peanut-flavored tar. I've seen thrifty people with store-brand children's bicycle helmets in their shopping cart, yet they are still willing to pay an extra dollar for the Smucker's Natural.
Skippy and Peanut Pan are a little different, but they're both good- like Pamela Anderson's sex tapes. I still prefer Peter Pan, however. To me, it's more "peanuty." You can really taste the nuts- like Pame... well, never mind.
I'm not sure what separates the different brands' taste, as both jars contain the exact same ingredients: roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and salt. According to its nutritional facts label, the Skippy contains 20% of one's recommended daily value of niacin, which as any good parent knows, is necessary for a child's hand-growth and eyebrow-thickening. The Peter Pan label doesn't list any niacin. You'd think that both peanut butters would contain the same amount of niacin. But whatever. I snack on at least four or five niacin bars a day, anyway. So I'm good.
I love peanut butter. Heck, everyone loves peanut butter. You hear about kids being allergic to peanuts. But you never hear about anyone being allergic to peanut butter.
Nevertheless, I'm an adult. And I'm of a generation where nobody is allergic to things. Yet, as adults, we're made to feel foolish for our love of peanut butter. Society tells us that peanut butter is for kids, designed for school lunchboxes and field trips to the zoo.
They give peanut butter silly child-like names. You'd never see a Jif brand escargot. Skippy is literally a kid's name. I mean, the brand is over eighty years old. It's about time we call it Skip. Peter Pan is a kid's character. Why not an Alan Turing Peanut Butter, named after Benedict Cumberbatch's complex character in the award-winning spy thriller, The Imitation Game?
Companies pander to adults by offering more "sophisticated" versions of peanut butter, like artisan cashew butter and cinnamon maple butter and let's meet for martinis and talk about the stock market butter. Frankly, there's nothing objectively childlike about peanut butter. And no American citizen should be embarrassed or ashamed to have a couple of containers in his or her food pantry. To eat peanut butter doesn't make one less refined. Sometimes I eat it right out of the jar with my index finger.
You can't write about peanut butter without mentioning jelly. They are forever linked, like Sonny and Cher or like Dick Cheney and the middle-earth gremlin family that donated their dead son's heart.
But while the PB&J is a classic, it's not really an equal partnership. It's like a Simon & Garfunkel sandwich. Peanut butter is better than jelly. Given the choice between one or the other, I'll always take peanut butter. Peanut butter writes the songs. Bread spread with just jelly? It tastes pleasant enough; but there's just no protein.
Smucker's also produces Goober, a combination of peanut butter and jelly in a single jar. For those busy folks on-the-go who just don't have the time to spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and jelly on the other slice and then slap the two pieces of bread together. I'm working on a product that combines peanut butter, jelly, and the bread in the same container, for the ultra-lazy. I will pitch it to the billionaires on Shark Tank, but not to that jerk Mark Cuban, who will immediately say "I'm out" and then spend the rest of the segment talking about himself and offering crap advice. Show's not about you, Mark.
I love peanut butter. As food goes, it's relatively healthy. I mean, it has some nutritional value and it's relatively low in termites. Many companies now offer organic peanut butter. I stay away from that, though- not because of the taste, but because the all-natural versions are topped off with peanut oil, which usually spills out when you pop open the jar and things get messy.
As food messes go, peanut butter is the worst. It's an annoying property to clean up, especially if it gets on your body. Peanut butter is skin-sticking. If you get even a tiny bit of peanut butter on your wrist, you have to scrub it off with soap and water or the smell and texture stay with you for the rest of the day. It's like how I feel after watching a Zack Snyder movie.
Reese's makes it own brand of peanut butter. I've had it. It's okay. It's different, however, from the peanut butter Reese's uses in its peanut butter cups. The peanut butter used in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups is more of a candy-version of regular peanut butter. And just for the record, if Reese's sold its candy peanut butter separately, I would buy it and use it for all my peanut butter needs. Candy-versions of things are always so much better than the actual thing. Candy cigarettes won't give you lung cancer. Cadbury Creme Eggs taste better than regular eggs. And when my girlfriend wants to know "what I'm thinking", everyone involved is happier when I sugarcoat my actual feelings.
The great debate among peanut butter aficionados is creamy vs. crunchy. The winner, of course, is creamy. Oh, crunchy tastes good- better than creamy, in fact. But peanut butter is to be spread. And to spread crunchy peanut butter on white bread is an exercise in frustration. Drop a globule of crunchy, thick, rough peanut butter on soft bread, and after just a few spread attempts with a dull knife, the bread looks more beat up than Tara Reid's liver on a Sunday morning. Meanwhile, creamy peanut butter glides onto a slice of bread smoothly and evenly, the way a shot of tequila goes down Tara Reid's throat on a Saturday night.
It's not surprising that now I have the urge for peanut butter. Maybe tomorrow, though. This afternoon, for lunch, I'm having tuna fish.