It was my Dad’s birthday recently and I couldn’t help but think of him extra fondly this evening when I was stirring a fresh jar of peanut butter. I’m ridiculously picky about my peanut butter, generally saying “No, thank you” to anything other than my chosen brand and texture. The brand that, incidentally, they do not sell in the New Orleans area. Or nowhere I’ve looked anyway. And I’ve looked. Extensively. It is called Crazy Richard’s. You should go find some, or maybe if you are lucky I will share some of my own stash.
The thing is that it is natural, and the oil separates at the top so you have to spend a solid few minutes stirring the viscous contents of the jar and it is kind of messy and sort of annoying. (And by sort of I mean HUGELY INCONVENIENT.) When I’m home my dad would always make sure to stir the new jar of peanut butter before I got my hands on it. Ahhh, Dad…such a pal. Got me off the Skippy ways of my sugar -coated youth and onto the good stuff.
The thing is, I first started eating this peanut butter with my parents so I don’t really know how they came across this particular variety. It was a hard transition from the sweet (to my palate now, wayyyy too sweet) peanut butter of my childhood that was packed with extra sugar and who knows what other crap to this natural, almost hard to eat, spread. But one day, I found myself working from the lightest of smears on my thin toast to really full on enjoying the natural peanut butter. Fun fact, I only eat the crunchy kind. And these days, I’ll just put a spoon in there and go for it. Especially if there is a cold glass of milk nearby. Yum.
Anyway, a lot of the “natural” stuff at the market now includes fun phrases like “no stir” and that is totally bullshit because in order to make the compounds that naturally separate stay together you have to add chemicals so I am not sure what is natural about that.
One time I attempted to fly back to New Orleans with some extra peanut butter and my mom had a GREAT idea for helping me fit a few of the sealed plastic jars into my carry on bag. (Carry on because they charge you so much money to check a bag. Like really, what the fuck. And then you have to wait for it at baggage claim, the pits.) I was about to give up due to space constraints and I was under a little bit of stress as it was because I always get a little wet eyed when leaving home even though I love it down here. I was not my most fun self. That time, amid my panic and belated packing, Mom came to the rescue. She found a GREAT spot for the extra goodies – in my running sneakers! It took a little shoving and some kind words of encouragement, but in a very short amount of time I had two, maybe three containers of my coveted Crazy Richard’s in my crowded bag and I was en route to the airport. Bon Voyage, East Coast, I’m coming home.
Well, as it turns out, the security guy was not having it. Nothing says “contraband” like being shoved inside a sneaker. I attempted to explain that I wasn’t hiding it but that I was just trying to fit the peanut butter in my already full-to-the-max bag. I also noted that it was sealed and although there was a bit of liquid at the top, I didn’t really think chunky peanut butter is, in fact, a liquid. That guy, what a tool. I lost the battle and was directed to check my bag if I so chose. I did not (have I ever?) have time for such an adventure and had to throw my beloved into the trash bin next to me. Ugh, I am still annoyed when I think of that guy.
Next time, my parents were super duper sweet and sent me a care package FULL of peanut butter so I’m pretty well stocked. Okay, not really, I’m down to three. THREE!!!! It is almost time to up my peanut butter game. Crazy Richard, I’m coming for you.