Everything I Needed to Know About Food I Learned From a Jar of Peanut Butter
One day, not long ago, I stood in my kitchen with all of the ingredients necessary to make a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich: Seven-Grain Wheat bread, Smucker’s Grape Jelly, and Creamy Peanut Butter from Whole Foods.
As soon as I dipped my knife into the new jar of PB, I knew something was wrong. Instead of clumping easily onto my knife, the goo that came out of the jar slid off and onto the counter.
Damn Whole Foods, I thought. They overcharge for everything, and then the food isn’t even fresh. With a crinkled nose, I smelled it, expecting it to give off an odor like bad yogurt. It smelled fine, so I tasted it. Fine again.
I’m notoriously cheap when it comes to buying groceries, and have never noticed anything different about generic peanut butter. I checked the ingredients: PEANUTS, SALTS. That seemed right. I checked the label of the just about gone jar of JIF in the fridge: ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.
I don’t know what that list of stuff does to my peanut butter to give it the creamy texture pictured above. I doubt it’ll make me have a heart attack or give me cancer. But by accidentally comparing apples to apples, I realized that there really is a difference between natural foods and whatever the other stuff I’ve been eating is. My PB&Js and I will never be the same.