A brief, insightful, and truly sad summary of peanut butter by Mitch Omer.
It takes 540 peanuts to make one 12 oz. jar of supermarket peanut butter; at Hell’s Kitchen, we use 603. No shit. And just how do we accomplish this? Well, for one, we don’t take up any space with food modifiers. Two, we don’t add food fortifications, and three, we refuse to use any commercial “spreads” like glycerin and other good stuff.
Our ingredients are simple: roasted, salted, skin-on peanuts, a little honey and brown sugar to sweeten, peanut oil for resistance to rancidity, sweet cream butter for a smooth texture, plus a small amount of sea salt to balance flavors and prevent spoilage.
So take that, Bob “Skippy” Anderson. And that, “Jif” Jones. And you too, “Peter Pan” Pan. All three of you can just suck on salted (pea)nuts.
That said, peanuts aren’t even nuts at all. They’re legumes, as in beans and peas. However, 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches can be made from one acre of peanuts. No other legume can make that claim.
In all, there are no less than 8 days on the Gergorian calendar celebrating one type of “national” or other peanut recognition from March’s National Peanut Month to “I Love Reece’s Day” the 18th of each May. For the record, I’d like to find the guy that invented Reece’s and kiss him on his lips. I’m just saying….
But sorely lacking is Tuesday, August 16th, 1977…my Sabbath. “Black Tuesday” as I call it: Elvis dies on the can, and instantly peanut butter and banana sandwich futures are in the toilet. Wonder Bread temporarily ceases production, stocks fall when Skippy suffers a glut of product, and Chiquita Banana files for bankruptcy. The King is dead and a nation mourns, but long live the King’s death-defying Grilled Peanut Butter & Banana sandwich.
America ate more than 400 tons of peanut butter last year, enough to cover the floor of the Grand Canyon, which makes for some awkward donkey rides. It feels as if a ton of that was ours, because Hell’s Kitchen, now known around the world for its peanut butter, regularly ships it to every state in the union, to Canada, to Europe, to Japan, and even to our troops overseas.
But, and this is a big butt, a hot dry summer in producing states significantly shrank the U.S. peanut crop this year. And you’re gonna pay for it. From peanut oil to cookie brittle to peanuts used in everything used from cosmetics to nitroglycerin. Suicide bombers are going to have to pony up. The raw cost of peanuts has skyrocked more than 240%. You’ve already seen grocery store price increases in peanuts and peanut products across the board, and god damn it, I’m now forced to raise the price of my peanut butter too. Cyn made me do it, and I am really, truly, no-shit sorry. As for our troops overseas, hell….we always send that gratis.
Warmest personal regards,
Mitch Omer, Founder/Executive Chef of Hell’s Kitchen