What contributes handsomely to the US economy, is present in a majority of American households and tastes delicious? You guessed it -- peanut butter! Peanut butter is a staple in current society and holds an interesting place in history:
-The typical American consumes more than six pounds of peanut butter and peanut products annually.
-The average child eats more than 1500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by high school graduation.
-Peanut butter is utilized in more than 90% of American households.
-Women and children prefer creamy, while most men opt for chunky.
-Creamy peanut butter is favored over chunky by 60%.
-It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter.
-Peanuts contribute more than $4 billion to the US economy each year.
-Americans will spend $800 million on peanut butter this year.
-Two US presidents were peanut farmers -- Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
-Allen Sheppard took a peanut to the moon.
-Ancient Incans entombed their dead with peanut butter to aid in spirit afterlife.
-Peanut butter was the secret behind TV's favorite talking horse, "Mr. Ed."
The name of our popular protein paste is confounding because it is not a nut, but a legume. Peanuts have greater protein, niacin, folate, and phytosterols than nuts; are more abundant in antioxidants than grapes, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and green tea; are cholesterol-free; and contain over 30 nutrients and phytonutrients.
I use peanut butter in a number of dishes but one of our household favorites is a decidedly Southern dessert, Peanut Butter Pie. This recipe is very simple but quite good. Each piece may be enhanced with a ribbon of Hot Fudge or Chocolate Sauce and scattered with chopped, salted peanuts.
Peanut Butter Pie
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
8 ounces Extra Creamy Cool Whip, thawed
Crumb Pie Shell (I prefer Oreo)
Beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and milk together till fluffy. Fold in Cool Whip. Spoon into crumb crust. Cover and chill in freezer for 15 minutes and then serve. Store leftovers in fridge.