Have you ever tried eating natural peanut butter?
It's a lot like lining your mouth with day-old wallpaper paste, only less satisfying. And you don't need much more than dab of it to permanently glue your tongue to the roof of your mouth. You can smack, and sneer, and contort your face all you want, but only time and a raging flood of fluids from your salivary glands will make it go away.
All those preservatives and chemicals found in commercially processed peanut butter that tree-hugging, healthy-living people are trying avoid must be delicious, because commercially processed peanut butter is insanely tasty while natural peanut butter tastes like pre-licked stamps, which leads one to conclude that true peanut butter flavor as we've come to know it results from ingredients ending in "dextrose" and "glutimate."
And I'd like to know how anyone can take peanuts, which are supremely delectable, even when not salted, and grind them into a spread with no discernible odor and a flavor profile that matches elementary school art class paste. When the dog gives you that "are you kidding me?" look when you offer it a lick, you know there's a fundamental flaw with the product.
We even tried natural almond butter once. I wouldn't have thought it possible to find anything more bland and unfulfilling than natural peanut butter, but we managed.
It's like the development teams of the two products challenged each other one day to see which could develop the worst spreadable product for general sale. Almond butter takes the prize, but only because natural peanut butter tastes like something. A bad something, but something nonetheless. Natural almond butter's complete lack of flavor is what makes it the more disturbing of the two to eat because, apart from the fact your cheeks have suddenly adhered to the sides of your teeth, you can't be sure you're actually eating anything.
So, when My Lovely Wife entered my office the other day with yet another jar of preservative-free, all-natural, freshly-ground something-or-other, I was leery. A tiny scoop on the end of a spoon was all I took. Then I went back for more and haven't come up for air since.
It had flavor. It was sweet. It had moisture. It was ground honey-roasted peanuts.
Whoever was the man or woman that thought to throw honey-roasted peanuts into a grinder ought to be knighted and given the Pulitzer. It took sheer genius to discover that a little honey and some salt -- and whatever dextroses and glutimates are involved in the honey-roasting process -- could help peanuts grind down into a sweet, salty, slightly crunchy mixture that, so far, has been blue heaven on everything we've chosen to spread it over.
Now the only problem we have is when we open the pantry to find the container empty.
© 2013 Mark Feggeler