An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food
More than Mom's apple pie, peanut butter is the all-American food. With its rich, roasted-peanut aroma and flavor; caramel hue; and gooey, consoling texture, peanut butter is an enduring favorite, found in the pantries of at least 75 percent of American kitchens. Americans eat more than a billion pounds a year. According to the Southern Peanut Growers, a trade group, that's enough to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon (although the association doesn't say to what height).
Americans spoon it out of the jar, eat it in sandwiches by itself or with its bread-fellow jelly, and devour it with foods ranging from celery and raisins ("ants on a log") to a grilled sandwich with bacon and bananas (the classic "Elvis"). Peanut butter is used to flavor candy, ice cream, cookies, cereal, and other foods. It is a deeply ingrained staple of American childhood. Along with cheeseburgers, fried chicken, chocolate chip cookies (and apple pie), peanut butter is a consummate comfort food.
In Creamy and Crunchy are the stories of Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan; the plight of black peanut farmers; the resurgence of natural or old-fashioned peanut butter; the reasons why Americans like peanut butter better than (almost) anyone else; the five ways that today's product is different from the original; the role of peanut butter in fighting Third World hunger; and the Salmonella outbreaks of 2007 and 2009, which threatened peanut butter's sacred place in the American cupboard. To a surprising extent, the story of peanut butter is the story of twentieth-century America, and Jon Krampner writes its first popular history, rich with anecdotes and facts culled from interviews, research, travels in the peanut-growing regions of the South, personal stories, and recipes.
Jon Krampner's Creamy and Crunchy is a delightful book about America's most popular nut butter and sandwich spread. It is action-packed, peopled with medical professionals and corporate giants, captains of industry and hard-hitting advertisers, vegetarians and health-food advocates, and farmers and peanut-butter lovers. It is a well-written, fast-paced, surprising tale about the delicious food we thought we knew. One nibble, and you can't stop reading!
Andrew F. Smith, editor in chief, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America
As a peanut-butter aficionado, I found this an excellent, convincing book written in a casual, journalistic, almost folksy style that cleverly disguises the real research done for it.
Noël Riley Fitch, author of Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child
Creamy and Crunchy is a witty, encyclopedic history of one of America's most iconic processed foods. It is chock-full of fun facts and surprising insights into the way we eat today.
Aaron Bobrow-Strain, author of White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
Enjoyable and informative.
well written and at times very witty...
A great book has been born.
A comprehensive and entertaining account of peanut butter and how this popular food assumed its place in American food culture.... This informal, folksy discussion will likely appeal to curious consumers and those interested in the history of food.
Jon Krampner is a wonderful guide to the many paradoxes of this all-American food...
A lively and entertaining book.
Creamy and Crunchy is the definitive history of this scrumptious staple, an entertaining and informative read.
...an enjoyable, interesting overview of an important part of American culture...highly recomended.
charming and entertaining
1. Peanuts 101
2. The Social Rise of the Peanut
3. The Birth of Peanut Butter
4. Peter Pan: "Improved by Hydrogenation"
5. How Peter Pan Lost Its Groove
6. Skippy: "He Made His First Jar of Peanut Butter in His Garage"
7. Skippy on Top
8. Jif: "But Is It Still Peanut Butter?"
9. "Choosy Mothers Choose . . ."
10. Peanut Butter Goes International
11. The Music of Peanut Butter
12. Deaf Smith: What's Old-Fashioned Is New Again
13. The Rise and Fall of the Florunner
14. The Peanut Butter Crisis of 1980
15. "You Mean It's Not Good for Me?"
16. The Short, Happy Life of Sorrells Pickard
17. Peanut Corporation of America: "There Was No Red Flag"
18. Peanut Butter Saves the World
19. Where Are the Peanut Butters of Yesteryear?
Appendix 1. Author's Recommendations
Appendix 2. Peanut Butter Time Line