Book Review

Book Review of Creamy & Crunchy

Creamy and Crunchy

Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food

Every once and awhile I like to break up my fiction reading habit with something like this. Creamy & Crunchy turned out to be not just informative but really enjoyable! I'm not sure why this book originally appealed to me, other than the fact that I grew up eating peanut butter and even as an adult it continues to be a comfort food I indulge in from time to time. I'm glad I took the time to indulge in this book. You'll be too, if you want to know just about everything there is to know about the trivia and history behind this iconic cupboard staple. Just make sure you have a jar of your favorite peanut butter on hand. It's too tempting not to go and get a spoonful after reading a few chapters! ;-)

There is a wide variety of topics included in Creamy & Crunchy - from the peanut's humble beginning as a low class food (it was fed to the pigs after all!) to it's rise as the main ingredient in our nation's beloved peanut butter. There were lots of fun stories and facts discussed like the rise (and fall) of several peanut butter brands, the health benefits of peanuts (did you know they rival apples, carrots, strawberries and more in their antioxidant content, contain resveratrol an anti-aging component and are associated with reduced heart disease and reduce cancer risk?) as well as plenty of history, trivia and interesting tidbits that kept me reading (and learning) to the end. One of the surprising things I learned: the George Washington Carver I had been taught about in elementary school is mostly a myth, at least when it comes to peanuts. What a way to burst my 4th grade "peanut day" bubble.

Even though Jon Krampner covered a lot of different topics, he had a great narrative flow to the whole thing so it didn't feel like a lot of disjointed facts. And yet, each chapter can easily stand on its own. There are lots of interesting recipes scattered throughout in side-bars, including one that Elvis used to love: a peanut butter banana sandwich fried in bacon grease. Yeah, ok, that sounds pretty extreme, but there are plenty of healthy and even ethnic recipes to try out instead.

This is more than a book about peanuts and peanut butter. It's also a historical walk through American culture, advertising, and tastes. Jon really did his research and it shines.

I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book as much as I did, but Creamy & Crunchy was a fun, informative and historical read. I know I'll never look at another jar of peanut butter the same! If you like history mixed with trivia and plenty of personal/old-fashioned American stories, Creamy & Crunchy might just hit the spot for you as it did for me.

Parents: There are a few instances of curse words but nothing else especially objectionable, although there are some personalized stories of lives that were lost in a salmonella outbreak that could be disturbing to some children.

*I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


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