Pans and Peanut Butter, or, Not All Things are Created Equal

This post is primarily a prelude to an upcoming recipe/template for a healthy version of a childhood favorite that may or may not have involved dunking stale, kangaroo-shaped cookies into a sweetened goo of goodness. As I go through numerous renditions, I find myself mulling over the ingredients bubbling on the stove in front of me. So here are some of those thoughts, mashed and blended into what I hope makes some type of sense.

I’m pretty particular about certain things, but once you get the basics down, I’m extremely easy to please.

Two things I’m most particular about are my cooking implements and peanut butter.

Something along the lines of five or six years ago my brother was living in what I remember being a rather disgusting apartment in Philly. Three guys who didn’t really know each other sharing one kitchen? That sounds more like a reality TV show than a prime living situation. But anyway, as he was moving out, I remember him going through the kitchen and grabbing various pots and pans that may or may not have been his. One small frying pan in particular caught my attention. It was yellow and already kind of old looking, and I probably said something along the lines of “I like that it’s yellow.” I’m a great conversationalist that way.

Long story short, that pan very quickly made its way into my possessions. Most likely because it was one less thing for him to move and unpack.

Either way, I use that pan multiple times a day. The bottom is burned, the edges are charred, and the ‘non-stick’ claim that came along with is has been further enhanced by years of use caking a thin sheen of oil on to it.

I would not give it away for a brand new, $360 frying pan. I know exactly how much oil I need to use in order to saute vegetables or flip pancakes. It has reached a perfection only time can administer to an industrially created, mass-produced item.

In that way, I suppose, all things are created equal. That frying pan is the same as every other one of its kind, or at least was at one point. But not anymore. Numerous apartments have seen that frying pan, and numerous more will (if I have anything to say about it). All things are created equal, I guess, but nothing remains the same.

Peanut Butter, on the other hand, is the other way around.

I don’t prefer organic over non-organic peanut butter. I don’t demand a particular brand. But I also recognize that not all peanut butter is created equal.

The kind I like is store-brand, typically $2.79 per plastic jar.

What I like about it is the ingredients. Or lack there of. The only thing I like in my peanut butter is, of course, peanuts, and potentially a tiny bit of salt. Please don’t give me added sugar, and do we really need to discuss hydrogenated oils? Just the peanuts, please.

Next time you’re at the supermarket, look at all the different kinds of peanut butters. Read some of the labels. I guarantee a select few will have a handful of added ingredients that are not necessary to a positive, fulfilling peanut butter experience.

So not all peanut butter is created equal, but those created simply can be used all the same.

These thoughts are primarily an introduction to the care I put into choosing my ingredients. As a student, I can’t always afford brand-name organics. But I can read labels and make informed choices. I don’t have a ton of money, but I have enough to be a little picky. I would encourage you to do the same, one step at a time (granted you have the financial means, of course). Read peanut butter labels. Or granola. Or another processed item of your choosing. I’ve found that beginning to ask myself exactly what I’m putting into my body correlates to how my body feels.

Are there any products – food or otherwise – that you’re particular about?

P.S. – Moving this weekend! I hope to find time to complete my experimentation and get this template/recipe posted, but I can’t make promises!

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