I think every person goes through life changing times at some points in their lives. And the time that this process of change is happening is sometimes so slow and so subtle that it’s hard to realize that it is, in fact, happening. Until one day, months later, you look back and finally realize how much you have changed and that some aspects of your life are now totally the opposite of what they were before.
A little bit something like that happened to me a while ago.
This is the story of my conversion and journey towards falling in love with peanut butter.
Looking back, I can’t really decide how it all began. From what I remember, I’ve always had a sort of aversion to peanut butter and all things pertaining to it. I guess you could say I was born with it, although I can’t remember that. It could be that my mom has fed me peanut butter when I was small and maybe I even liked it, I don’t know. When you’re young and dependent on parents for sustenance, you can’t control what is being fed to you and only trust that whatever it is won’t kill you.
So yes, all things considered, I have no idea when my hatred for the thick, gooey, slightly disgusting looking shmear began. It didn’t start with the butter, obviously. It was the root of it all, really. Couldn’t stand the peanuts themselves. As I remember it, it’s always been that way. I couldn’t stand the smell of it all. Whenever I had mistakenly inhaled that smell, it felt like it swelled up in my nostrils and consumed all the olfactory nerves, tightening them into awful twists. It was something I abhorred. I stayed far away from baked goods containing even a trace of this ingredient; they tasted awful. I remember on several occasions where I had taken one of those detested little peanut butter cookies in public settings where food was being served. That first bite was always hastily spit into my napkin and the rest discreetly discarded, hoping the hostess wouldn’t catch a glimpse of my rude behaviour. A few lucky times I pawned my bitten-into treat to my mom. Why those treats with the peanut butter hidden inside always look the most delicious on a dessert bar, I’ll never know. Maybe bakers have long since figured out that to be able to sell peanut butter goodies, they have to make them extra delectable looking. You know, marketing strategy.
My destiny, however, was not to be a life-long peanut butter loather. I didn’t know it at the time, but how my journey was about to change!
Just as I can’t recall how or when the aversion began, I also can’t recall how or when exactly the aversion ended and this infatuation with it began. Looking back, I can’t believe how someone can go from driving in the ditch on one side of the road to driving in the ditch on the other side of the road so fast, so inexplicably easily. But easy as it was, it was also not easy at all, if that makes any sense. It was a long journey, and a very slow one at that. It took time, like with all good things, I suppose.
As best as I can remember, it started one day when I was hungry for a snack. Not wanting to fill my body with too crappy a snack, I opted for an apple. (I know, I wouldn’t usually worry about such things, but this one time I guess I must have.) The apple was boring, to put it mildly. In a second of senseless spontaneity, I dipped a butter knife into a jar of peanut butter and slapped it on my apple wedge.
Gahhhh, that was delicious. I couldn’t believe it. I dug my knife into the jar and retrieved a heaping pile and smeared that hooey all over the remaining wedges. I savoured every bite. It was AMAZING.
A few days later, I tried it again, just to see if I had had a hormonal imbalance which had pushed my taste buds out of whack, but nah, it was still good. And not just good; it was my new favorite snack.
Then, during the Christmas season, we were visiting my husband’s uncle and aunt and their toddler granddaughter was there as well. She’s incredibly sweet and loves people; she has no shyness in her whatsoever. There was a huge jar of peanuts on the table (has there ever been a peanut-less Christmas?) and this adorable little girl asked me to crack the shells for her. I humoured her and cracked them. Then she carefully pulled out the nuts and walked around the table, handing them out to everyone, including me. Not wanting to disappoint her by turning down that one tiny nut clasped in her tiny fingers, I accepted and popped those suckers into my mouth.. started chewing.. goodness they tasted good. Those perfectly roasted, peanutty little gubbins. I soon stuck my paw into that jar and brought up my own little clump to crack and eat.
As my taste-altering journey progressed, I soon no longer plugged my nose when a jar of that hearty brownish goo was opened across the room. In fact, now the scent slowly drew my closer, like bees are drawn to honey. It was inexplicable, this, this, whatever this was. Whatever was happening to me was strange, and weird, and totally unnatural. But I decided not to fight it. I decided to jump on that sticky peanut butter train and see where it’d take me. (I guess you could say I decided to “stick” it out. What)
This journey has been incredibly interesting. I purchased a jar of peanut butter and took it along on the truck. Now, whenever I feel hungry but don’t want to ruin my appetite for a meal later, I literally scoop in there with a spoon and munch on that. I love it. Peanut butter is so good. The other day I even baked peanut butter cookies at home. When that peanutty aroma wafted into every nook in our house, I remembered way back when that would’ve made me gag and I would’ve gasped for fresh air as if it was a poisonous gas. No longer. And while I still don’t enjoy baked goods with peanut butter very much, I can now eat them without spitting bites into my napkin. Maybe I’m still in the process, in the middle of this journey, and maybe someday I’ll order things like peanut butter cheesecake. (Although that’s hard to imagine, seeing as different flavours can very easily ruin a good cheesecake.)
But for now, I’ll lick on a spoon of pure peanut butter like I was made for it. Like it was made for me. I don’t know which way it goes.
A lot of things in life are mediocre things, things that can be tolerated or liked, like pasta or chicken. When people ask if you like chicken, you can say “sure, yeah, I like chicken.” It’s no big deal.
Some other things, like peanut butter, pineapple on pizza, and coffee are either highly craved and loved with a passion, or completely hated. There’s no in between. No shrug. You’re either in love with it or you aren’t.
These things, the ones people have strong opinions about either way, are the best things in life. Like peanut butter And cheesecake.
Mini Easter Cheesecake.
Talking about cheesecake and thinking about how much I love cheesecake, I realized another thing. There’s a weird connection between a legit cheesecake and peanut butter. They have certain properties in common. They’re both gooey. A little sticky, in a stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth kind of way. They’re both hearty. Very filling. And just the right amount of flavour that your tastebuds go WILD, but not so sweet that you have to chase every bite with coffee. You can just stick a spoonful into your mouth and smear that all over your roof and into your teeth and slowly let it dissolve and glide over your throat.
Anyway, I realize that I’ve digressed a little bit here, but I’m that passionate about cheesecake, and peanut butter. BUT! Never, and I really do mean NEVER, combine the two. These two things are their own element. Their own WORLD. They’re not Bonnie and Clyde. These two things are like Brooklyn and the Upper East Side. If you try to combine them in any way, you’ll cause trouble. A big, stinkin’ heap of trouble. (Yes, that was a reference to Gossip Girl.)
Well. I’m out, before I start plugging even more topics into a single blogpost.
What is your favorite food journey? I’d love to hear from you!