Friday, June 8, 2012

A Peanut Sat on a Railroad Track

So I found this cool book at the library the other day called Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese. It's a kind of a cook book/diary combo. The author goes through a list of items that most people will buy pre-made at the store and try to replicate it at home. Then she'll compare the time, quality, effort, and price of both food versions and will tell you if it's worth it.

Her point is that over the years, more and more dishes that used to be homemade are now considered 'ingredients' that you buy at the store without question. Who would try to make ketchup? And more importantly, everyone has a subjective line with what they consider necessary to make vs. acceptable to buy.

A few of my personal examples on my personal sliding-scale:
- Toast. We can all agree on that one. Let's make it at home.
- Pie crust. Gotta make it, even though most people would buy it. I don't care that it's messy and time-consuming. I would just feel like a lesser person if I bought it.
- Mayonnaise. Cool and fun to make but still a staple item to buy.
- Butter. That is hard-core. Never gonna try to make it, have no desire to.

Anyway, her book and concepts start with peanut butter. It's cheap and easy to make, but now everyone in America buys either Skippy, Peter Pan, or Jif. It should be only peanuts, salt, and maybe oil, but it has turned into a whole industry.

You got pre-packaged PB&J sandwiches (with crusts already removed), pre-mixed PB&J squirt bottles (no need for a knife), smooth or crunchy peanut butter, peanut butter dip, etc.

So if you feel like sticking it to the man, here is the recipe for peanut butter:

1. Put unsalted roasted peanuts in blender.
2. Push button.
3. Remove peanut butter from blender.

One little note of advice. Don't keep pushing the button (Step 2 of the recipe) non-stop until your peanut butter is silky smooth or you'll fry your blender. Not that I did that or anything, I'm just warning you novices.

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