So, my American Culture professor decided to finish the class with a bang – a picnic! YAY! Everyone was instantly interested, as you can well imagine. But to make things educational as well as fun, she decided to give each student a cooking assignment. Yes, you heard that right – a cooking assignment. We have to prepare a typical American dish and tell something about its origin and popularity. 😀 It’s going to be really interesting – I can already tell. 😀
Since not all of the students have an oven handy (some live in dorms, or have just a cooktop, but not an oven), the assignments vary from student to student. I have to prepare the American staple breakfast dish called PB&J or, for those who are not familiar with the term, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.
Now, my first thought and that of many of my fellow classmates was: “What? Peanut butter and marmalade? Like – together?” Believe me, it sounds really gross to our European minds – we usually link marmalade (jelly) with actual butter rather than with those salty roasted peanuts guys like to snack on. And very few of my classmates have tasted peanut butter before – it’s just an alien food to us, so we have no idea what it is like, but we do know that some people are allergic to it. Go figure.So, I’ve never tasted peanut butter in my life before and never really had a desire to, so this assignment was sort of a taste bud adventure to me. I didn’t even know our stores carry it! (Well, my ignorance might be the result of my avoiding that section of the store – healthy living and all that.)
The first thing that stood out was the strong peanut smell. So far, so good. Next was the super creamy texture – it spread really well on bread – perfect. Then came the taste… Yes, it’s definitely salty, perhaps even more salty because of my low-salt diet. But, fortunately, it’s not a gross taste, though my sister is far from enthusiastic about it. “It’s like eating peanuts on bread – it’s just crazy,” she said and I kind of agree. I can see the value it had during the WW2, but I would not choose it over regular butter unless I was convinced of its health benefits. I eat butter rarely as it is, so a very caloric alternative holds little appeal to me.
But, when I prepared a real PB&J, the taste was masked by the bread and marmalade really well, so I understand why children and moms across America like it so much that an average child eats about 1,500 of them by the time he/she graduates from high school. I guess my classmates will like it, or at least not passionately dislike it, which is all I hope for. But I seriously doubt anyone will make it a part of their breakfast.