Where I grew up, peanut butter was something weird that was occasionally mentioned in movies. Even now, although it is available in many stores, it is not very popular – Romanians tend to like Nutella-like spreads more. Over the years, I became increasingly selective about what I eat, but when I was much younger, before getting into the habit of reading labels :D, I had the curiosity to taste store-bought peanut butter… and I didn’t like it. I’ve always loved nuts, peanuts included, and I was expecting a richer taste – after all, isn’t peanut butter some kind of peanut concentrate?! I dismissed it and continued to enjoy peanuts, as before, in all their plain crunchiness.
Then, while living in rural South-Western Turkey, I got this huge bag of peanuts from a local farmer. I instantly thought of making a batch of peanut butter. Two cups of nuts in the blender, a drizzle of oil, a push of button, and I had the most wonderful peanut butter. This called for some PB & J, of course… not (I have these prejudices about jam and bread that prevents me from seeing them otherwise than void calories).
I opted for chunks of fruit – raw, fresh, natural, full of nutrients and flavor – to go with my homemade peanut butter, and introduced the combination to the Mister. Although he had traveled the world and always tried local cuisines, peanut butter never made him curious. We both liked it, and decided we’ll make peanut butter again.
And we did. In Turkey, we always had a fresh supply of peanuts. The Mister knew the old farmer, and knowing those peanuts were grown in the very village we lived in was special – something you don’t feel when you open a bag of peanuts from China.
I miss those organic peanuts I ate by the fistful. Their amazing rich taste set a very high standard in my mind, and, since we left the village, eating peanuts always seems like a compromise, because they don’t compare. As for peanut butter… it’s easy and far tastier when made at home.
Next time I’m in Turkey, I’m going peanut shopping… aaand I’ll also make a good provision of roasted chickpeas, but that’s another story 🙂