On the ninth episode of “You ate what?!” we discuss a favorite food of mine. Let’s see how well you know me. Can you guess what it is? I won’t be offended if you don’t know. Kudos to those of you who do!
I love peanut butter. Of all of God’s creations that are edible, the peanut is the most noble. Most people credit George Washington Carver for the invention of peanut butter but it was actually first patented by a Canadian dude named Marcellus Gilmore Edson. He was a chemist, or pharmacist as we know them to be called now. He created peanut paste as a nutritious food for people who couldn’t chew solid food. He roasted the peanuts, added sugar to harden the paste and sold it for six cents a pound. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Anyway, I love it. I even brought two jars of Trader Joe’s peanut butter to Japan with me. They didn’t last very long. When I introduced myself I was sure to say “peanut butter ga suki desu”. It means, I like peanut butter. All the Japanese people and some foreigners kept asking if I’d tried Japanese peanut butter. I thought, “Oh, I’ll buy some and try it out”. And I did buy some but was too afraid to try it. It looked nothing like peanut butter. In the U.S. we are so used to foods being roasted. Roasted peanuts have a taste and color that is always recognizable. But this “paste” was bland and looked far too pale to truly be peanut anything.
Today I decided to be brave and try it. Whomp, whomp, whomp! I will no longer refer to it as peanut anything. It will now and always be known as sugary milk paste. I will list the ingredients for you. We all know that the first ingredient is the one that the product mainly consists of. If you look at any peanut butter product in the U.S. the first ingredient is usually peanuts, right? Not in Japan. The first ingredient was glucose, followed by skimmed powdered milk. Eh? Salt was next, then emulsifiers “including soybeans”. Soybeans? In peanut butter?! What is this foolishness? What relationship do beans and nuts have? Sure they’re both seeds (beans= seeds from legumes, nuts=seeds of trees) but that’s about it.
It’s a wonder I survived. After google translating the kanji on the lid I determined that instead of two peanuts there should have been a picture of a cow. Talk about misleading advertisement. The lid said “Floaty and light whipped peanut cream”. There was only a faint hint of peanut flavor. But peanuts weren’t even listed in the ingredients so I’m really confused. How can they reasonably sell a “peanut” product without any actual peanuts? And where does the peanut smell come from? Maybe they got it from those weird peanut powder people.
0/10 will never try again. I will just continue to eat real peanut butter that has been imported. A few weeks ago, I went to Kobe and found an international store. They sold, American sized containers that cost $13. I think, for a peanut butter aficionado, it’s well worth the expense.