l i l e p h y t e

January 6th, 16:10 | Thirteenth day; also: torrid peanut butter

Have I mentioned lately, or ever, how much I love peanut butter? I feel strongly about the lack of documentation of my love for certain foods. Now, I'm sure everyone has their favourites, and honestly, peanut butter, while somewhere in the top ten, probably shouldn't deserve its own mention ahead of bread, which I worship, rice noodles, the ultimate comfort food, my unwholesome passion for KD, and of course my utter helplessness at the feet of Coke. Really, there are many carbs and sundry sugars that should be getting mad praise before I go on to wax poetic about something as (comparatively) nutritious and, well, protein-based as peanut butter. Nevertheless, here we are.

There isn't one specific thing that compels me about peanut butter. It isn't particularly sweet, although it often seems that way in comparison to its "carrier food", and it doesn't taste so good -- it's really just kind of pleasant. It isn't that it's a super-healthy dietary cure-all (soy, anyone?) since, from what I understand, it's rather high in fat. There's really nothing spectacular about it at all. Yet somehow, the versatility of this goo-in-a-jar makes it indespensible in my kitchen. If I had to try narrowing it down, I'd say that I love peanut butter because it's pretty tasty, it's at least a little filling, and most importantly, it's spreadable.

I was never one of those kids who got packed off to school with a lame, breakfast-topping-filled sandwich. My mom would usually pack me rice- or noodle-based leftovers, soup if possible, and if she had to do the sandwich thing, would do it with meat. (As a side-note, she would also butter the bread for the meat sandwiches, which still grosses me out. It's not that I'm all about kosher eating or anything, but butter? With meat? Ugh.) Anyway. The point was that due to her lunch-packing prowess, I really didn't discover the classic PB+J (note: the 'j' denotes 'jam', not 'jelly') until about second year in university, at which point I fell completely in love, and felt treacherous and guilty about no longer being able to hold KD in sole position as favoured guilty indulgence.

After that, everything fell into place. I made (mediocre) peanut butter cookies. I once even tried to make peanut butter muffins, but you'd never be able to prove it. I made, with some success, both chocolate peanut butter balls, and a chocolate fudge peanut butter pie (so smooth, so gooey!). Suddenly, my mom's jar of peanut butter (kept in the fridge for those rare morning cravings my mom would get for peanut buttered toast) was being attacked at random intervals. I started buying celery just so I'd have something to eat the peanut butter on. I experimented with peanut butter rice krispie squares (judges are still out on that one), I made myself PB+J regularly at home.

In short, I was suddenly discovering that while KD was the bulky, satisfying meal of students everywhere, peanut butter was the flexible champion of snacks -- so convenient, so easy, so versatile! I also need to add that for a period of approximately 8 years, if left to my own devices, my only "real" meal during the day would have been a half-dinner, half-lunch sort of creation around 6, and the rest of the day would consist of snackety grazing anytime I was hungry. Clearly peanut butter was smoothing over the cracks between my meals, and my consumption was getting out of control.

It was around this time that I also briefly pondered on how people with nut allergies could live. Seriously? What do you do without peanut butter?? Anyway.

I moved back home, was promptly shunted back onto the "three meals a day" existence that had previously dictated my eating habits, and my frenzied, if short-lived, love affair with peanut butter subsided. I'd still snack on some toast on occasion, when I saw the jar in the fridge. I even half-heartedly bought a thing of celery once. It wasn't the same; the fervour was gone. I'd outgrown the peanut butter.

Today, however, that all changed. I wanted something creamy on the last of my hippie bread, remembered my old standby, and now, six minutes later, I'm sated, covered in crumbs, and licking a knife with an open jar of peanut butter sitting next to my machine.

The body's memory is longer than we think, sometimes. Happy pith entry, everyone.

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