Synopses & Reviews
The first popular account of one of America's most beloved foods (consumed by more than seventy-five percent of the population), Creamy and Crunchy is an entertaining yet comprehensive history of peanut butter's invention and integration into the American diet. Richly illustrated and filled with anecdotes and facts culled from unusual and engaging sources, the book is a mix of interviews and research, micro-histories, personal histories, and recipes, focusing on the manufacture of the food from the 1890s to the present, while also covering its cultural, nutritional, and even molecular evolution.
Jon Krampner begins with peanut butter's creation and the scramble to capitalize on its early success. He provides in-depth looks at Peter Pan, Skippy, and Jif, and why Peter Pan, the first of the big corporations to manufacture and market the food, is now a distant third behind market leaders Skippy and Jif. He examines the plight of black peanut farmers; the creation of the Choosy Moms Choose Jif campaign; the role of peanut butter in fighting Third-World hunger; and the salmonella outbreaks of 2007 and 2009 that threatened to derail peanut butter's sacred place in the American cupboard. Krampner investigates the resurgence of natural, or old-fashioned, peanut butter; the five ways today's product is different from the original; why Americans love peanut butter so much more than people from any other nation; and the future trajectory of the industry. He concludes with a best of list featuring top, taste-tested peanut butters and a timeline of key figures and events. A dedicated web site maintained by the author, www.creamyandcrunchy.com, contains additional images and information.
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.