Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Make Mine Creamy

             For me, it’s Skippy Peanut Butter – hands down.

I have lived in a lot of places around the United States and the world. I’ve tried peanut butter everywhere. In recent years, due to health concerns, my wife and I experimented with at least a half-dozen different organic types of the best snack food ever (in my humble opinion). Sadly, these healthier versions of the classic creamy spread don’t even come close. I have diligently stirred this brand of peanut butter so that the oil and cream base are blended well. To no avail, I fear. Allow me to be candid regarding these organic, healthy brands of peanut butter: They are terrible. How terrible, you ask? In answer – A jar of this food will become a science project in my fridge before I’ll eat any of it again. That is not to say that I don’t appreciate the efforts by these manufacturers to make a really good organic peanut butter. I certainly do! One word of advice, however – Keep at it. You’re not even close.

As a child I was your classic PB&J kid. Mom would make our lunch which often included my favorite: a PB&J sandwich (Welch’s Grape Jelly and Skippy Peanut Butter on white bread was my choice), an apple, celery or carrot sticks, and Graham Crackers and Marshmallow Fluff. I loved eating my Graham Crackers last because the combination with the Marshmallow Fluff simply made my taste buds dance. I wanted the taste to last as long as possible. I still eat that way today. I’ll size up my meal and decide what, if anything, I dislike the least, targeting that first to be ingested.

So back to peanut butter. While working on my academic exploits I would find myself studying late into the evenings. Out would come the Graham Crackers and peanut butter. Add a large glass of milk and I was one very content guy.

For many years I preferred crunchy peanut butter. As I have gotten older, however, I have shifted to creamy. I’m not sure why, except that I occasionally tasted a crunchy nut that wasn’t quite right, setting my teeth on edge and ruining the overall culinary affect.

Because we moved a lot while I was growing up (3 elementary, 2 junior high, and 5 high schools, both coasts of the United States, plus Texas, and France and Norway), peanut butter was not always accessible. I truly missed it during those times.

While serving in the Marines we would have as part of our food ration in the field a small container of peanut butter which resulted in teasing the taste buds more than anything. Often we would trade with each other the various items in our package of food stuff. Peanut butter was a good bargaining chip.

During my bachelor years I always had a large jar of peanut butter in the kitchen cabinet. To this day I still do. To assuage that bit of hunger with a bit of sweetness, a large spoonful of the creamy stuff right out of the jar is a wonderful remedy.

I’ve mentioned those food items that go well with peanut butter, not the least of which is Graham Crackers. Another excellent choice is Ritz Crackers. Yum! Mom also used to put peanut butter in the hollowed out curved shape of celery sticks and then place several raisins across the length of the stick. We called those “Ants on a log.” Loved those!

Reese’s Candy has made a fortune on their classic Peanut Butter Cup, a highly favored snack item.

But the one I remember the most, but never ate, was my step father’s favorite dessert dish consisting of several scoops of vanilla ice cream, bedecked with a ridiculously large spoonful of peanut butter. As I say, I could never bring myself to enjoy this combination. It doesn’t make sense, because I love both of those things. My daughters, however, are another story.

On those occasions when Isaura and I would visit my folks in Fresno, we would leave the girls with them on an evening while we would visit with friends over dinner at a restaurant. Well, this was the classic, “While the cats away, the mice will play,” scenario. Pop (my step father, our girls’ granddad) would stay up and watch TV with the girls. This always included a trip into the kitchen whereupon bowls would be brought forth with Pop scooping copious amounts of ice cream into three bowls, followed by the heretofore mentioned peanut butter daub. At first the girls thought this was a strange choice for dessert, but their granddad won them over. Later in the evening a second trip into the kitchen for refills was made, always with an atmosphere of being involved in something clandestine, even naughty. This was high adventure for our girls. Granddad would caution them not to say a word about staying up late and eating ice cream and peanut butter. Of course, the girls excitedly told us all about it the next day.

My wife grew up in Portugal where peanut butter was not a preferred food item. After nearly forty years of marriage, she has become a true-blue peanut butter person. We maintain two very large jars of Skippy Creamy in our food pantry. Tasty!

The Bible says that “the Lord God has made all things good,” and that we are to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” I’ve been a Christian for 43 years and I have tasted of the Lord’s goodness. I can’t swear to it, but I sense a slight flavor of peanut butter in those times with Him. Just kidding!
But the Lord truly is good. Don't you agree? I'm hopeful there'll be peanut butter in heaven. If this turns out to be so, you can make mine creamy!

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