Remember the seventies? I do. It’s memorable for so many reasons. My mom’s hair was teased almost as high as Marge Simpson’s, I had a drawer full of ‘hot pants’ and my cousin Diane had shiny white go-go boots that I coveted with all my heart even though her feet were 3 sizes bigger than mine. We also ate peanut butter with abandon in those days. You name the place and peanut butter was there: even on school trips and at brownie camp. In fact, it was slathered thickly and generously over bread and crackers just about everywhere kids congregated.
Today, of course, that’s all changed. As I wrote in an article for Canadian Health & Lifestyle that will be out in their fall issue, peanut allergies have one of the highest incidences of producing rapid, life-threatening reactions such as anaphylaxis, which can lead to cardiac arrest and causes 150 deaths a year.
Needless to say, this problem means that as ubiquitous as it once was, peanut butter is no longer allowed at school or day care. New products are being launched to fill this empty niche so that non-allergic kids and adults can enjoy a peanut butter-style experience away from home. Sabrina and I tasted a couple of these new options last week and offer you our tasting notes below:
• No Nuts Golden Pea Butter: while this gluten- and cholesterol-free blend of dried peas has a great texture that mimics peanut butter well, we agreed that it could use a bit of salt to perk up the flavour. While pea butter doesn’t taste exactly like peanut butter and may not satisfy the palates of die-hard peanut butter fans, it can be used as a direct substitute in all recipes that call for peanut butter, which is a bonus for bake sales and lunch box treat-makers.
• Blue Diamond Creamy Almond Butter: Although still not appropriate for school use, this product has the texture of natural-style peanut butter. The taste doesn’t mimic peanut butter but delivers a true roasted almond flavour. We both thought this product offered predominantly adult appeal. Although we didn’t try baking with it, our experience has proven that this texture doesn’t usually work in recipes developed for conventional peanut butter.
Are you a peanut butter lover? If so, do you eat the natural stuff or the kind that reigned supreme in my suburban seventies childhood?