Sunday, January 17, 2010
Want A Peanut Butter Sandwich...?
While making my nightly peanut butter sandwich last night, it occurred to me that many out there may not know the history of one of the greatest snack foods ever created!
Therefore, I've appointed myself the official "Peanut Historian" of the day. After all, it's important that we be as knowledgeable as we can be about the foods we eat, right?
Besides, not many foods have such a colorful history! Anyway, it's always fun to find out about some of these interesting facts. So, here is a brief history...compliments of Time magazine.
Peanut butter's true inventor is unknown, but Dr. John Harvey Kellogg has as good a claim to the title as anyone. In 1895, the cereal pioneer patented a process for turning raw peanuts into a butter-like vegetarian health food that he fed to clients at his Battle Creek, Mich., sanatorium. The taste caught on, and in a few years, the spread had gone mainstream.
In 1922, chemist Joseph Rosefield fixed peanut butter's tendency to separate by adding hydrogenated vegetable oil; he called the thick, creamy result Skippy (probably after a popular comic strip), and a brand was born. Within the decade, Skippy was fighting it out with other established brands like Peter Pan and Heinz.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches invaded children's lunch boxes soon after: by one 2002 estimate, the average American child eats 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating from high school.
In the 1990s, nut-allergy fears led some schools to eliminate peanuts from cafeteria menus. Still, peanut butter remains an $800 million industry--which is one of the reasons Jif and Peter Pan are spending millions on new ad campaigns to remind consumers how good food that sticks to the roof of your mouth can be.
Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit on the patio for a bit. I'll make us a P.B. sandwich...maybe with some jelly!