By Grant McGee
Sunland Peanuts, on U.S. Highway 70 between Clovis and Portales, recently had the grand opening of its peanut butter plant. I got to go on a tour of the place. The peanuts go in, get roasted, mooshed up, seasoned and the delicious stuff is shot into jars. Then I saw what, to me, was the most fascinating part of the tour: the machine that screwed the lids on the jars at high speed.
I don’t know when my love affair with peanut butter began.
As a kid, my mom would slather it on toast. The thing about mom’s peanut butter toast was she would spread butter or margarine on first then the peanut butter. I didn’t like that much. I didn’t think peanut butter and butter went well together. Years later I asked her why she made it like that.
“The butter helps the peanut butter slide down easier,” she said.
In school I learned peanut butter was developed by George Washington Carver. The Arkansas native worked with peanuts and sweet potatoes; he came up with over 400 uses for the two plants.
When I got older I liked to put peanut butter on English muffins. Once I read an article that indicated I was in good company: Charlton Heston is known for doing the same thing.
Peanut butter is one of my staples; if I have a jar of it, a loaf of bread and a toaster I won’t go hungry. If I travel in Mexico I know to look for “mantequilla de cacahuate.”
I was gladdened by the recent revelation that peanut butter reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes (check it out on the Internet).
I like that all-natural peanut butter, the kind that separates into oil and peanuts and you have to stir it and blend it when you open it. I like it when you first open it; after that, not so much. You’re supposed to refrigerate that all-natural stuff and it hardens up. It’s hard to eat by the spoonful like that.
In an article on sandwich ideas in the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” a peanut butter and bacon sandwich was mentioned. I tried it once. It wasn’t bad.
I often wondered at one of Elvis Presley’s favorite things: fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I wondered how you’d keep the bananas from sliding out while frying. The recipe was revealed in “People” magazine in the early ’90s: Mash the peanut butter and bananas into a paste, spread it thickly on bread and fry like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.
According to the 1998 movie “Meet Joe Black,” the favorite food of The Angel of Death is peanut butter. Now that says something. In that flick, Brad Pitt plays Joe Black, or “Death,” who has come-a-callin’ for Anthony Hopkins’ character’s daughter. Death takes up residence in Pitt’s character’s body and goes about experiencing day-to-day human existence, including frequent dips into the peanut butter jar.
Every morning I make a piece of toast, then spread a big spoonful of creamy peanut butter on it while it’s still hot. It makes the peanut butter all runny and warm. Then I wash it down with some grape juice.
Some mornings, when I’m running behind, I just eat a big spoonful of George Washington Carver’s miracle spread.
It’s good stuff.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org