Today, March 1 marks the National Day for peanut butter lovers.
Picture a regular size jar of peanut butter. Either creamy or crunchy. Now, guess how many peanuts were crushed to fill that jar. (More about that later.)
Legend has it that a doctor whipped up the first batch of peanut butter in the early 1890s for his patients who had difficulty chewing. His name has been lost to history, but that tasty spread has stuck around ever since.
National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day was designated as March 1 in 1990 on the 100th anniversary of the day peanut butter made its commercial debut in the United States.
Subsequently, peanut butter was introduced to a broader audience at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. It caught on quickly. Entrepreneur C.H. Sumner had sales of $705 for the new treat at his concession stand. Its popularity has grown to an estimated $800 million a year in sales in the U.S. alone.
Peanut butter is best know for the company it keeps.
Chocolate, for example. Reese’s Peanut Cup candy, chocolate covered portions of peanut butter, was introduced in 1928.
And, jelly. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are classic, but other nutty sandwich combos are limited only by imagination. Elvis Presley was known to enjoy peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
According to the National Peanut Board, it takes 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter. It’s also possible to make it at home in a food processor with two cups of dry roasted peanuts, a couple of tablespoons of honey or sugar and salt to taste. Visit the Pinch of Yum blog for specifics.
Here is an easy and nutritious recipe for PEANUT BUTTER DIP that is perfect for snacks and potlucks. Kids can make it since there is no cooking required.
SAVORY PEANUT BUTTER DIP
1/4 C creamy peanut butter, 3 oz. cream cheese, 1 to 2 T of apple or orange juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 to 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce.
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Add applesauce, little by little, to bring to the desired consistency for the dip.
- Chill before serving with fresh fruits, veggies, graham cracker sticks, crackers.
Makes 8 servings. From: http://www.peanutbutterlovers.com
Kids love to eat peanut butter, but they also may like to read about it. Among the related children’s books, is “Peanut Butter & Cupcake!” written by Terry Border. The hero is a peanut butter-covered slice of white bread, that wanders around his new neighborhood trying to make a friend.
National Pancake Day, sponsored by IHOP, also will be celebrated on March 1 this year. Since 2006, IHOP restaurants have offered a free short stack of their Original Buttermilk Pancakes between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on that day. Guests are asked to consider leaving a donation — and they have. Since the first annual event, nearly $30 million has been raised for charities on National Pancake Day. http://www.ihoppancakeday.com
For the ULTIMATE CELEBRATION, how about peanut butter pancakes? Makes me hungry just writing about it…
Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist, who also writes stories for children.