Did you know that March is National Peanut Month? Well, it is. And did you know that Friday March 1 is also National Peanut Butter Lover's Day? Well, it is. And you know what? We're into that. We, in fact, LOVE peanut butter, so we'll take it. We're just hoping the banks are open on this, the most prestigious of holidays. Remember when you were a kid and you'd stop to join the crowds outside a department store window to catch the Peanut Butter Lover's Parade on the display televisions? And who among us hasn't been late getting someplace because of the Peanut Butter Carolers clogging the streets. Just remember to get your Peanut Butter Lover's cards out of the way early this year so you can really sink your teeth or gums into the big day!
We also wanted to get into the history of peanut butter, because it's awesome (not counting that terrible, horrible, no good, very oily natural stuff that really should be called something like peanut goo). Anyway, here goes:
So there's history about how in the 1400-somethings, the Incas would grind peanuts into a paste which would give them the strength to do cool ancient art and stuff. But in the year 1895, celebrated cereal magnate and enema enthusiast John Harvey "Corn Flake" Kellogg patented a food that was pretty much peanut butter as a thing for people who wanted proteins but were too busy or unskilled to chew hard foods like meat or protein bricks, a popular snack from the time (*protein brick is not actual history).
We don't know if Kellogg wanted to put the stuff in anyone's butts, but by 1903, Ambrose "Not Burnsides" Straub patented a machine for making peanut butter. We don't know how it worked per se, but if we know anything, it ground peanuts up. Now, many people believe that inventor George Washington Carver created peanut butter, and while it's true that he was a genius who dreamed up hundreds of uses for the peanut, he did not, in fact, create peanut butter—which you should technically already know because we told you about it a few sentences ago.
In any case, the rest was history, and peanut butter can now be found in 94 percent of American homes, according to the National Peanut Board. We know it's in ours. We like Skippy. Sue us. And suck it, Peter Pan and Jif! And yeah, we know that a lot of commercial peanut butter is kinda sugary, but we also know that the government mandates that any food item callin' itself "peanut butter" must be at least 90 percent peanuts. Wow!
We also know that it takes over 500 peanuts to make the common 12-ounce jar o' peanut butter.
We also know that Reese's Cups are AWESOME.
We also know that in 1932, Jospeh Rosefield, the patent owner of a partial-hydrogenation process that he licensed to Peter Pan brand peanut butter, took his skills on the road after PP tried to cut him out, whereupon he founded his own brand—Skippy. This is where and when he would also invent chunky peanut butter, which our mom never let us have because she's mean!
Some other things we know include how the astronaut Alan Shepherd took a peanut to the moon for some reason, the Jimmy Carter was the SECOND peanut farmer president (what's up, Tommy "Violin" Jefferson?), and that if you put a pat of butter on an English muffin before you cover that bad boy with peanut butter—baby, you've got yourself a breakfast going. Don't do that Elvis Presley fried peanut butter and banana thing, though, because it's almost certainly gonna lead to your death.
The Texas Peanut Producers Board estimates that the average American eats about three pounds of peanut butter per year, meaning more than 700 million pounds of the stuff is bound to get eaten nationally before 2019 is done. That's enough to coat the entire floor of the Grand Canyon, says that same board, although we consulted our Five Star binder's conversion chart, and the information on peanut-butter-to-canyons was nebulous at best. AT BEST!
Still, we salute you, noble peanut, and the many people who stock their homes with your butter. This has been The Fork—your guide to the world of facts.
Let this wash over you in a wave of glorious nostalgia!
-By the time you read this, there will only be a couple days left in Santa Fe's Restaurant Week, but that doesn't mean you can't get in on the last little bit of it. Hit that website link for events and such.
-New Mexico Fine Dining (they run places like Bouche and Trattoria a Mano) has not one but two new restaurants coming down the pike, so consider yourself informed. In April, be on the lookout for their new Asian-inspired joint Lucky Goat (we hear it'll be on Sandoval Street), and then later, like, in the summer, we can apparently expect contempo diner food at Jimmy D's, which would be an homage to NM Fine Dining owner Jimmy Dale. That one's apparently gonna hit Old Santa Fe Trail and never stop rocking. Unless it does, but damn we need a diner.
-We also hear Santa Fe author Lynn Cline's Maverick Cookbook has been optioned for a television show of some kind that mixes history with, ummmm … food. We're down, because the publishing house behind the book, Leaf Storm Press, is run by former SFR publisher Andy Dudzik—a good dude, indeed.
-Over in The New York Times' food section, find a fascinating piece on the yogurt starter cultures of South Asian cuisine. It's a much bigger deal than you probably thought, if you thought about it at all.
-We've really been digging the food journalism from eater.com, especially a new piece from Whitney Filoon about the future of meal services. You know the ones—those boxes that come with stuff ready to plop in a pan and cook without any preparation or ability of any kind? Anyway, says Filoon, if companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh don't get it together, they're destined for the ash-heap of history.
-The great state of New Jersey, were jabronis are born, can soon boast a food tour dedicated to the late, great Anthony Bourdain. According to Food & Wine, a measure recently passed unanimously and that the glorious trail o' food should kick off sometime in the not-too-distant future. Bourdain, of course, took his own life last year, which was devastating for a number of reasons. Suicide is sadly something we're all too familiar with, and we won't go on and on about it, but remember that the National Suicide Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
-Like the mushroom vomit that is kombucha but have trouble shelling out upwards of $4 for a bottle? No prob—delish.com has tips to get you started. If you wanna go further than that, though, remember that Santa Fe has Honeymoon Brewery, a kombucha taproom that marries the stuff with booze. Solid, hippies, right?
-GPS technology comes to the world of organic eatin' chickens. You heard right. NPR reports that Chinese farms are now outfitting their chickens with the location-zeroing devices to help consumers know that that bird they're about to carve was indeed happy, healthy and from where its sellers claimed it was from.
-Do you ever eat emotionally? For example, have you ever been so tired that you straight up DEMOLISHED a box of Samoas in your underwear because the stove was pretty far away and what are you, anyway—Martha Stewart?! Turns out you're not alone, though HuffPost spoke with experts about what that might mean, the triggers hiding someplace in there and why said Samoas are not a therapy substitute.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
Number of Letters Received
*Wow! Too bad about 47 were “I’m not here” auto-replies.
Most Helpful Tip of the Week
“When do you get funny?
*We never do.
Actually Helpful Tip
“Smith’s on Pacheco has a really tasty lemon bread, so Sue can smile again with this estimable treat!”
*Thanks, Fork-Fan Rene! And Sue, we hope this helps!
See ya, peanuts!