Sunday, February 08, 2009


Making dinner for myself tonight (Sherry is at a meeting) was more time consuming than it should have been. I spent time on the internet searching several sites, including the FDA web site and the Trader Joe's site, trying to decide whether or not to open the recently purchased jar of Trader Joe's Organic Crunch Peanut Butter. (I'm a pretty good cook, but when alone, I have a few tried and true meals - tonight was tomato soup, and peanut butter and strawberry preserves on rice cakes.)

Why do I have to think twice about eating peanut butter? I've been eating this stuff for most of my life. I have a very special relationship with peanut butter: in grade school I researched and wrote a major paper on the life of George Washington Carver, who invented over 300 uses for peanuts! I always think about Mr. Carver when I eat peanut butter. He was an African-American born near the end of the Civil War who become a well known agricultural chemist and educator, and who had to break down a number of racial barriers to get there. In some way, I think Mr. Carver was one of the inspirations that led me to become a naturalist and scientist.

But now my dear jar of peanut butter is suspect; I have to approach it with trepidation and, to be honest, a certain degree of daredevilism. We tsk-tsk the Chinese for putting melamine in milk, resulting in the deaths of many children. And yet here we are, in America, amazed that a big corporate entity appears to have purposefully put tainted peanut products on the market out of sheer greed. Is nothing sacred? Not even peanuts?

Note: if you read my next blog post, you will know that I survived my dinner tonight!


  1. Jonathan Radmacher8:37 PM, February 08, 2009

    And as long as you get through one eating, it's a safe jar, yes?

  2. Oh wise sage. 300 uses for peanuts?! That's all!? Hell, this company in Georgia found some new uses. Toxic poison. A way of bring Sam and Ella together in your body. Who can argue with good old fashion American ingenuity?

  3. I never knew the history behind peanut butter - fascinating!

    My son's new school has a strict no-nuts policy and I'm really missing making pb&js for lunch, or sending him with a little bag of cashews - especially because we're vegetarians.

    But there's hope! Scientist here in the UK recently found a way to potentially cure kids with peanut allergies! Here's an article about it: