Only because I let him, my dog eats
Born a slave, George Washington Carver spent his life improving the peanut plant, and championing its uses and the planting of it as a crop in the Southern U.S. Like the oats which made Scottish warriors the men they were, one of his best reasons was that peanuts were a cheap, plentiful food for Negroes, rich in protein and other nutrients.
The peanut plant is a nitrogen-fixing legume which fertilized and re-enriched soil made poor from constant growing of cotton. While he sometimes took public credit for the discoveries of others, aside from the food value of peanuts, Carver found many uses for the nuts and plant.
Peanuts have a variety of industrial end uses. Paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressings, furniture polish, insecticides, and nitroglycerin are made from peanut oil. Soap is made from saponified oil, and many cosmetics contain peanut oil and its derivatives. The protein portion is used in the manufacture of some textile fibers. Peanut shells are used in the manufacture of plastic, wallboard, abrasives, fuel, cellulose (used in rayon and paper), and mucilage (glue).
The food value was where Carver concentrated. He published a small brochure, listing 105 recipes/uses for peanuts. One of the greatest things to come from peanuts, is peanut butter. I dig a small dollop onto the tip of a kitchen knife, and dip the dog’s daily antihistamine pill in it.
Peanut butter is just basically finely ground peanuts, although commercial producers add sugars, salt and stabilizers. In my little neck of the universe, in the late 1940s and ‘50s, we still had to stir jars of peanut butter, because the oils would separate out.
In 1922, a chemist developed a process for homogenizing it. In 1928, he sold the rights to a company which marketed it as ‘Peter Pan.’ Apparently before conflict of interest/competition contracts, in 1932, he began producing his own peanut butter under the name ‘Skippy.’ Later, he churned in recovered peanut bits, creating the first chunky peanut butter.
For reasons unknown to me, the son recently stirred the top half of a new jar. Apparently that negates the homogenizing effect, and now the oils must be stirred back in each time we open it. It also changed the peanut butter from a semi-solid paste, to a drippy sauce. You have to move quickly to get it where it’s going, or have it run off the knife, onto the kitchen counter.
Peanut butter….it goes anywhere, any time –white bread, rye, bagels, plain or toasted, crackers. It finds its way into Thai food with peanut sauce. It goes with anything….spread it along with honey, or jam, (Good Old P. B. & J!) Elvis Presley used to like it in peanut butter and banana sandwiches – although he wanted the bananas mushed, and the assembly fried, like a grilled cheese.
Me? I slice a banana into 3 slabs, lengthwise, and lay it over the PB, on toast – usually rye. On white toast, I slather Miracle Whip on top of the PB. It has a spicier taste than plain mayo, and sets off the peanut butter’s taste. You Americans don’t know what you’re missing. Then again, I’ve been known to put catsup ketchup, even my Spicy Ketchup, as a spread on toast, and you’ve been lucky enough to miss that, too.
I gotta go check with my bathroom scale, to see if I’m allowed some peanut butter and rye crackers as a snack today. The dog is already looking at me suspiciously. How about you guys?? Eat it? Leave it? Like it? Hate it? Partner it with what?? 😕