February 15, 2014
PEANUT BUTTER AND BACOS...EVERY SINGLE DAY...:
As American as Peanut Butter (KARINA MARTINEZ-CARTER, February 14, 2014, Pacific Standard)
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 15, 2014 10:47 AMAs the idiom goes, something is "as American as apple pie," and the dessert often concludes Fourth of July feasts that involve celebrating U.S. independence with a spread of foods that have, over the years, taken their place at the table to become considered traditional American fare like hot dogs, hamburgers, and most anything barbecued. The true all-American food, however, is far more quotidian and universal--at least within U.S. borders. It's peanut butter.Americans consume more than a billion pounds of peanut butter per year, spending almost $800 million a year on the stuff. The numbers reveal obvious mass consumption, but what solidifies peanut butter as the all-American food is what people add to it starting in childhood; it is the symbolism and homey memories as sweet as a jar of JIF that have elevated the product to a near-consecrated place in American culture. "What's more sacred than peanut butter?" asked Senator Tom Harkin in 2009 from the dais, a jar of peanut butter in hand when accusing Peanut Corporation of America of consciously delivering salmonella-tainted peanut butter to a school lunch program. "I still eat peanut butter sandwiches."No other food is so visibly present in Americana nostalgia and in the typified American upbringing as peanut butter. In the 1960s, revered portrayer of halcyon (and a touch idealized) American life Norman Rockwell even illustrated a Skippy ad. "Peanut butter embodies the raw primordial heart of American childhood," says Jon Krampner, author of Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food.To grow up in the United States means to eat peanut butter, most commonly consumed in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and this hasn't changed for generations.