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Creamy and Crunchy

An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food

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 a wide variety of other foods. It is a deeply ingrained staple of American childhood and cuisine.

Creamy and Crunchy features the stories of Jif, Skippy, and Peter Pan; the resurgence of natural or old-fashioned peanut butter; the five ways today's product is different from the original; the plight of black peanut farmers; the role of peanut butter in fighting Third-World hunger; and the Salmonella outbreaks of 2007 and 2009. 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, and recipes.
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.

Author Information

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

Reviews

Krampner's fascinating history of peanut butter is loaded with anecdotes and tidbits, drama and humor.

Tim Sullivan:
charming and entertaining

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

Creamy and Crunchy is the definitive history of this scrumptious staple, an entertaining and informative read.

Rob Hardy:
A lively and entertaining book.

Bee Wilson:
Jon Krampner is a wonderful guide to the many paradoxes of this all-American food...

A comprehensive and entertaining account of peanut butter and how this popular food assumed its place in American food culture.... This informal, folksy discussion will likely appeal to curious consumers and those interested in the history of food.

A great book has been born.

Justin Peters:
well written and at times very witty...

Jon Michaud:
Enjoyable and informative.

Aaron Bobrow-Strain, author of White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf:
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.

Noël Riley Fitch, author of Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child:
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.

Andrew F. Smith, editor in chief, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America:
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!

$18.99
PDF
Audience: Professional and scholarly;

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