Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food

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Overview

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).

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Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food

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Overview

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.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Andrew F. Smith
Jon Krampner's Creamy and Crunchy is a delightful book about America's most popular nut butter and sandwich spread. It is action-packed, peopled with medical professionals and corporate giants, captains of industry and hard-hitting advertisers, vegetarians and health-food advocates, and farmers and peanut-butter lovers. It is a well-written, fast-paced, surprising tale about the delicious food we thought we knew. One nibble, and you can't stop reading!
Noël Riley Fitch
As a peanut-butter aficionado, I found this an excellent, convincing book written in a casual, journalistic, almost folksy style that cleverly disguises the real research done for it.
New Yorker - Jon Michaud
Enjoyable and informative.
Washington Monthly - Justin Peters
well written and at times very witty...
Yum.fi
A great book has been born.
Times Literary Supplement - Bee Wilson
Jon Krampner is a wonderful guide to the many paradoxes of this all-American food...
The Columbus Dispatch - Rob Hardy
A lively and entertaining book.
The Past in Review
Creamy and Crunchy is the definitive history of this scrumptious staple, an entertaining and informative read.
Choice

...an enjoyable, interesting overview of an important part of American culture...highly recomended.

Harvard Business Review - Tim Sullivan
charming and entertaining
Choice
...an enjoyable, interesting overview of an important part of American culture...highly recomended.
Aaron Bobrow-Strain
Creamy and Crunchy is a witty, encyclopedic history of one of America's most iconic processed foods. It is chock-full of fun facts and surprising insights into the way we eat today.
Noel Riley Fitch
As a peanut-butter aficionado, I found this an excellent, convincing book written in a casual, journalistic, almost folksy style that cleverly disguises the real research done for it.
Library Journal
Krampner (Female Brando) provides a comprehensive and entertaining account of peanut butter and how this popular food assumed its place in American food culture. Jammed with facts and folklore gathered from numerous library collections, extensive personal interviews, and travels throughout the Southeast, this book details the manufacturing of peanut butter from its inception by Kellogg in 1895 to the present. Krampner discusses why peanut butter became creamy, crunchy, and chunky as well as why its consumption declined in nutritious-conscious households of the late 1980s. To obtain an insider's perspective, he tracked down numerous spokespersons from Peter Pan, Jif, Skippy, and other manufacturers who shared unique insights and picayune facts that will enliven readers' understanding of peanut butter's place in American food culture—now and into the future. Comments regarding genetically modified peanuts and a listing of recommended products conclude the discussion. VERDICT This informal, folksy discussion will likely appeal to curious consumers and those interested in the history of food.—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jon Krampner is the author of The Man in the Shadows: Fred Coe and the Golden Age of Television and Female Brando: The Legend of Kim Stanley. He received an A.B. in English literature from Occidental College and an M.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. He lives in Los Angeles.

Web site: www.creamyandcrunchy.comE-mail: pbj@creamyandcrunchy.comTwitter: @pbj06

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgments1. Peanuts 1012. The Social Rise of the Peanut3. The Birth of Peanut Butter4. Peter Pan: "Improved by Hydrogenation"5. How Peter Pan Lost Its Groove6. Skippy: "He Made His First Jar of Peanut Butter in His Garage"7. Skippy on Top8. Jif: "But Is It Still Peanut Butter? "9. "Choosy Mothers Choose..."10. Peanut Butter Goes International11. The Music of Peanut Butter12. Deaf Smith: What's Old-Fashioned Is New Again13. The Rise and Fall of the Florunner14. The Peanut Butter Crisis of 198015. "You Mean It's Not Good for Me?"16. The Short, Happy Life of Sorrells Pickard17. Peanut Corporation of America: "There Was No Red Flag"18. Peanut Butter Saves the World19. Where Are the Peanut Butters of Yesteryear? Appendix 1. Author's RecommendationsAppendix 2. Peanut Butter Time LineNotesIndex

Columbia University Press

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2013

    Anonymous

    Informing yet boring

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