A brief history of peanut butter

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/06/a-brief-history-of-peanut-butter.html

Peanut butter is one of the most delicious foods on the face of the earth. On this, I will not be moved.


I’d heard this recently - that GWC didn’t invent peanut butter - but he DID discover ~300 different uses for peanuts. What an amazingly versatile legume!

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I have it on good authority that Edward “Skippy” Williamson and Frederick “Jif” Armstrong – two white men – stole George Washington Carver’s recipe for peanut butter, copyrighted it, and reaped untold fortunes from it.

EDIT: typo




It’s getting easier finding the real stuff in the US. When I was a kid almost every brand of the stuff was a combo of PB and sugar.
Peter Pan, Jif, they took nutrition and turned it into candy.
I swear at 65, I have never gotten tired of a PBJ.
When I first moved to Australia in 1972 I tried ordering a PBJ as my first lunch stop. They looked at my quizzically. Later I found out they though I was asking for peanuts, butter, and jello. Over there it’s peanut paste and jam, though I’m the only one I saw eating it that way in the three years I lived there.
And of course in the history of the mighty PBJ, let’s offer a quick nod to the Jefferson Airplane who saw the sammy as being symbolic of all they saw as American in the 1960s

and published this as the center spread of their Volunteers LP.


One of my favorite sammiches is peanut butter, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, with freshly ground black pepper.

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I call America-centric bullshit: What about the 1884 patent filed by Marcellus Edson of Montreal? Doesn’t that count as “invent[ing] the modern incarnation of peanut butter,” 11 years before Kellogg?

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An invitation to anaphylaxis in our household. I can eat it but my spouse would be life-threateningly sick in minutes. We normally use SunButter, a staple in our cupboard. NoNuts is a good Canadian PB substitute but we rarely have it.

PB&Js are tasty, but my favorite is crunchy peanut butter and crystallized honey taken from my grandfather’s beehives, on homemade country white bread made by my grandmother with the same honey. I ate so many of those as a kid.

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Yeah, PB is so versatile with savouries. Kimchi and PB is delicious. PB & Yam stew, yum.

Way back when my job had me burning upwards of 5000 calories daily at barely minimum wage, one of my favored treats was a cup of cheap chunky PB mixed with a cup of cheap honey, both bought at Grocery Outlet aka GrossOut aka Dented Cans. We do what we must.

We had a place here for a while that I called “Scratch and Dent Grocery.” My kid said don’t call it that, that’s rude. Then I pointed out to her that the sign had the actual name of the place as “Salvage Foods.”

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Wrong. Peanut butter is an affront to all that is good. It tastes like vegemite mixed with sadness.

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de gustibus non est disputandum

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