Crunchy or smooth? A question that has been asked and answered billions of times over the last century. A question that is mundane yet profoundly insightful into each and every one of us who has ever spread peanut-buttery goodness over a piece of lightly toasted bread, perhaps with some jelly, perhaps not, or stuck a spoon (or finger) into the jar to scoop some out and cut out the middleman.
Fun fact: the earliest reference to peanut butter comes from the Incas and Aztecs, who ground peanuts into a paste.
According to nationalpeanutboard.org (which is a thing that exists, apparently) the invention of peanut butter as we know it can be credited to three people:
- Marcellus Gilmore Edson, who in 1884 patented peanut paste, a product made from milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces
- Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (yes, that Kellogg), who in 1895 patented a process for making peanut butter from raw peanuts
- Dr. Ambrose Straub, who in 1903 patented a peanut butter making machine
In 1922, Joseph Rosefield invented a way to keep peanut butter smooth and prevent it from separating. He licensed that invention to the company that created Peter Pan peanut butter and later started Skippy.
A few more fun facts (and even more here):
- The average American eats 3 pounds of peanut butter a year.
- The average European eats less than 1 tablespoon of peanut butter a year.
- Peanut butter can be found in 94% of American households.
- The world record for peanut-throw distance is 124.4 feet.
What are some of the other simple, low-importance preferences that simultaneously say a lot about who you are as a human being? Things along the lines of toilet paper over or under the roll. Or what kind of jam / jelly is best for PB&J. Share them in the comments. And of course, crunchy or smooth?