Goodbye, Mr. Peanut!

Friends, there’s a crisis amidst, one that I’m horrified to say, is getting scant media attention.

It’s much bigger than Herman Cain’s did-he-or-didn’t-he tabloid headlines, which have been replayed over and over again on the nightly news. (Curse you, Brian Williams!)  I assume, of course, they’re referring to whether Cain ordered his pizza with, or without, pepperoni.

Price of peanut butter has just gone up as much as 40%.

But the situation, to which I’m referring, is a ticking time bomb, one that is bound to have an explosive effect on the economy. It’s bound to change the way you live your life, and may well leave millions of parents uncertain as to what to pack for their children’s lunches.  (On the plus, every kid with allergies to this product can finally breathe a sigh of relief.)

Why, you ask? Because the future of Mr. Peanut is in jeopardy. So hold on to your monocles and listen up!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the price for a ton of runner peanuts—used to make peanut butter—hit an all-time high, up $450 per ton from a year ago.  If that is as hard for you to understand as it was for me, then know this:

The price of peanut butter just skyrocketed, smack though the roof of my peanut butter-laden mouth. Up by 40 percent, which means you’re going to have to start shelling out a lot more, just for one jar of peanut butter, crunchy or smooth. It’s as if Mr. Peanut has been kidnapped and now we have to pay the ransom.

The reason? Part of it has to do with peanut production being down 13 percent. The rest can be blamed on intense heat and drought in the south. Couple that with demand. The National Peanut Board says Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter, consuming six pounds of it per year! And if anyone knows peanuts, it’s the Peanut Board, which I assume is run by Mr. Peanut, himself.

Given the bad news, I’m on the prowl for a recipe for homemade peanut butter—preferably one that doesn’t involve using peanuts. You see, I’m addicted to the stuff, which, to me, is as American as hot dogs, apple pie and waving the red, white and blue.

Mr. Peanut talks to a young fan in Atlantic City, circa, a long time ago.

Yet, buying it is now out of my league. Which is why, Mr. Peanut and I are going to have to part ways.  Herewith, my open letter to Mr. Peanut:

Dear Mr. Peanut,

I bid you farewell.  I’ll never forget our time together, nor how we met. It was when my mother first brought home a jar of peanut butter from the A&P.

Sure, she purchased a generic brand then, but she didn’t know any better. She hadn’t seen the countless commercials I got to watch daily, in between The Flintstones and Bugs Bunny cartoons. How I grew to love those ads that exulted your amazing attributes, all determined to convince me that they had the “peanuttiest” tasting peanut butter.

According to one manufacturer, my mother clearly wasn’t a choosy mom, which probably meant she didn’t love us, kids, as much as other moms loved theirs. At least, that’s what the commercials wanted me to believe. But, what can I say? She was from Venezuela, where peanut butter isn’t nearly as popular, and she didn’t yet know about America’s love affair with the peanut.

Oh, Mr. Peanut! I learned early on that adding peanut butter to any product was a guarantee it would become an instant hit with my family. Items like Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal, and Nutter Butter cookies, which boasted, “Made with real peanut butter,” were scrumptious! Later on, we discovered Little Debbie Nutty Bars and Drakes’ Funny Bones, a chocolate cake with peanut butter filling that was sold only on the east coast. And of course, let’s not forget that long-time standby, the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup. Mr. Peanut, it didn’t get any better than that.

Well, goodbye peanut butter treats, many of which I haven’t tried in years, but still remember fondly. Let’s hope the peanut farmers have a bumper crop next year. Maybe, former President Jimmy Carter can put together a delegation with you, Mr. Peanut, and all the little peanut runners, and arrange a summit with Mother Nature, to ensure we have an abundance of peanuts next season.

Until then, Mr. Peanut, I will wait for you to come down in price. I’m also going to be snacking on gold bars instead. I hear their price just became cheaper than buying a jar of peanut butter, smooth or crunchy.

44 thoughts on “Goodbye, Mr. Peanut!

  1. One word Monica – Nutella. Never mind. It is too addicting as I discovered one night long ago when I caught myself sticking my finger directly into the jar. Who needs a spoon? It is rather pricey as well. Oh well…

    • Oh, Lisa, I know Nutella all too well. It is my Kryptonite. Awesome with peanut butter, too. Ah, yes, there’s always Nutella. Worth every penny, if you ask me. Though Costco sells it for a good price. 😉

  2. I do love peanut butter and apple slices. It’s a trusty lunch saver when I can’t leave the office. I always have a jar handy. I know the cost has inched up, but an apple and some peanut butter is still cheaper than a sandwich or a salad with all the trimmings. I hope Mr. P, responds lovingly. He should appreciate you more. BTW, try a teaspoon of the old guy in vanilla yogurt, sounds gross at first, but like your combos, its divine.

    • Peanut butter and apples make for a good combo and you’re right. It still is a better deal than eating out. Vanilla yogurt? Not sure, but if you recommend it, it’s worth a try. Thanks for the tip–and, of course, for your comments. I really appreciate you stopping by!

  3. Say it isn’t so!!! I love peanut butter. Right out of the jar. A big spoonful with honey drizzled over the top. I used to have a pet goat that loved peanut butter so much that I used it to train him to do tricks. I had an obstacle course he would go through and he’d get a spoonful of peanut butter if he did it correctly. It was great!

    • Never had peanut butter with honey. Will have to try it. Frankly, I feel like I can put a cookbook together based on everyone’s suggestions on how to eat PB. Love your goat story. Sounds like my Henry. He love PB, too and sometimes I use it to get him to do stuff. Great treat all around!

  4. What do you mean the price of peanut butter is going up in the States? My God! Will beans be the only source of protein that’s affordable, mi’ja? Methinks you should move to Europe. For less than two euros you can buy yourself a jar of Calve smooth or crunchy peanut butter. Two minutes into your Calve peanut butter feast, you’ll wonder why you ever gave a rat’s ass about Mr. Peanut. Trust me. 🙂

    • Yes, the news about peanut butter is bleak. I may just try growing peanuts in my patio and making my own butter out of them. We’ll see how far I get. Maybe your mother can ship me some Calve peanut butter? It’s probably cheaper coming from Europe than buying it at my local grocery store! 😉

  5. A couple of weeks ago while checking out at the grocery store the cashier made the comment, “Have I had a day, all the complaints.” I responded with, “I suppose everyone is complaining about the rising cost of groceries. She said, “Its peanut butter everyone is complaining about the high price of peanut butter.” They were running a special – $1.98 a jar, so I went back the next day and bought two jars.

    I grew up on peanut butter. I was a really picky eater and peanut butter was one food I would eat.

    • You see?? You have proven my point. This is a calamity of major proportions and the media is practically ignoring it. Peanut butter is to us as rice is to the rest of the world. A staple!! And it’s very existence is being threatened, which is why the price is on the rise! We must unite and plan a Million Peanut Butter March on the White House! Hear my clarion call!

      Btw, do you think you can pick me up a jar of the $1.98 special? 😉

  6. Yikes! I have one at home who might suffer severe malnutrition as a result of this news! I hope we can comvince President Carter to come out of retirement!

    • I’m with you all the way. We call him on the national security hotline he has by his bedside (I assume all former presidents have one as protocol), and tell him he must rise to the occasion and save us all from the prospect of starving from no peanut butter in our lives. It’s do or die time!

  7. Hmmm,I was a former peanut butter lover.. there were many days when I would binge on peanut butter and eventually got so sick of it, I could never eat it again – isn’t that sad? I love nutella though, love, love love!! We don’t have PB in the house as my 8 yr old is severely allergic and I’m so glad I saw the post about regular M&Ms having peanuts in them- she has finally found something she can eat without having to check every single ingredient- looks like I will have to stop her from having it, who knows when she will eat a badly contaminated batch – how scary!!

    • What I’ve learned is that PB is for a taste that the palate must cultivate. So, if you weren’t given a spoonful of PB as a kid, or if you ate too much of it, well, it’s easy to not like it. But I guess I’ve always eaten it in moderation–though sometimes moderation comes by the bucket!–and thus, to this day, continue to thoroughly enjoy it!

      Glad, by the way, that you learned about the dangers of foods made in factories that also make foods with peanuts. Contamination is the word of the day! Often these other foods (that seemingly contain no peanuts) have a fine print on the label that warns of it being prepared in contaminated kitchens.

  8. Yes, it’s a sad day when peanut butter prices begin to strain the grocery budget, especially here in Suffolk, the peanut capitol of the world, or at least Virginia. Instead of a ware hero on a horse we have a statue of Mr. Peanut downtown. I have not heard a thing about it on the news. My 15-year old HS sophomore gave me the alarming news, which he heard in his agriculture class at school. We are fortunate not to be allergic to PB at our house, so I am stocking up on one of our staples. Thanks for shining the light on this issue! Good post 🙂

    • Carol, you have just made my point–that there is little information about this major crisis in the news! It was just a mention. Maybe it would have been bigger news if the news had been about peanut butter having salmonella! Thank goodness for your 15-year old, too, who helped bring you the news. So, you’re welcome. Might as well start turning to me for all the latest, pertinent information! 🙂

  9. I love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and Bruce’s favorite cookies are peanut butter. But the one in our house who will be most disappointed is Lola. She lives for peanut butter. I’m sure she won’t understand if we cut way back. Poor Lola.

    • Peanut butter might become the type of delicacy we reserve for special occasions. When company comes, we’ll be serving peanut butter on crackers on a silver platter. Won’t that be a trip! 🙂

  10. First coming here and trying peanut butter, I did not get, then slowly we grew into it. I remember sending parcels to my friends to Russia back in the 90s, along with clothing I put few cans of peanut butter. Few months later I received their letter asking only for peanut butter in our next parcel.

    • That is hysterical! I love that your friends in Russia developed a taste for peanut butter and only asked for that. My daughter’s two best friends are from Russia and when they come over, we have to find something else for them to eat because they do not like peanut butter at all, and my daughter and I put it on just about anything–crackers, bananas, pickles, etc.

  11. I have noticed the higher prices, too! I wait until it’s on sale. Also, Trader Joe’s has 4 kinds of natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky, with or without salt) for $2.19 for 16 oz, which is the cheapest I’ve seen.

    They don’t eat much peanut butter in Europe. I wonder if Europeans have as many peanut allergies?

    • I love Trader Joe’s. They always have the best deals. I think, overall, peanut butter is not as popular or common in other countries as it is here. The Europeans have Nutella (which is so divine, if you ask me). But this country grows its own peanuts. It’s traditionally a cheap product and, though, high in calories, has a lot going for it, especially the natural variety. So, keep an eye on the prices and keep buying it while you still can!

  12. I thought it was no big deal but I there are those every now and then cravings for M&Ms and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I mean, I’m trying to do the right thing but I don’t wanna pay a higher cost in those cases that I fall from the wagon. Lord help me if I start getting dragged around and can’t stop for awhile. This is the least expensive nut on the market. What will it do to the price of other nuts? I’m going nuts over the stress of it all now.

    • Totsy Mae, I would love to see you create a picture of you going crazy over this, maybe surrounded by bed of peanut butter cups or just plain peanuts. Now, that might make me feel better about this peanut fiasco thing. It would definitely make my day for I love your art and your jazzy style!

  13. Oh, NOOOO, say it isn’t so, Monica! I grew up on PB&J sandwiches and still love peanut butter on crackers (even though I can’t eat peanuts — go figure!) We’ll have to make hurried trips to the grocery store to grab up all we can, before this news becomes common knowledge. I heard the price of a Thanksgiving dinner is way up this year, too — just when we don’t need higher prices!

    • And, if you were thinking of serving peanut butter sandwiches at your Thanksgiving meal, you might as well forget about it. That’s bound to make your dinner six times more expensive.

      Yes, quickly get to your nearest grocery store and stock up. I already did and if you stop by my home, you’ll note jars of the stuff tucked away in ever corner of my humble abode. 😉

    • Not a peanut butter fan? That’s tantamount to blasphemy! Tut, tut. Ok, it’s ok. Kind of reminds me when Bella (One Sister’s Rant) wrote about the wonders of coffee and I told her I don’t really drink the stuff. She was horrified, too. But, ok, I’ll let this pass.

  14. Unfortunately, I do see the link between skyrocketing peanut butter prices and so many kids now allergic to this delicious spread! From what I’ve heard it’s pretty standard for day cares and schools to ban this food altogether just to be safe. My bigger question is what do you think it causing this rise in allergies? When I was little I don’t think I knew a single person who had an allergic reaction to peanut butter.

    • Nor did I know anyone with peanut butter allergies. Apparently, there’s a theory that the increased consumption of it and early exposure to it, has led to a prevalence of the allergy. There’s no definitive proof, however, and I understand that whoever does figure out the reason, will be unlocking the mysteries of our immune system. So, time will tell.

      • Love it! And yes, it is a mystery indeed. As a parent of a son with a recently discovered peanut allergy, it is kind of crazy. There are all types of theories out there from scientific to conspiracy nut you just have to do what is best for your kids, friends, self, etc. All my boys had their cycle of peanuts and peanut butter. Only my oldest has the allergy which was discovered a year ago. Since, we actually had an ER trip because of plain M&Ms which have peanuts in them. Weird. We have switched to Nutella since then as an alternative for our occasional craving.

      • You wouldn’t think plain M&M’s have peanuts in it, but apparently if it’s made in the same factory as the ones that do have peanuts, then everything made there is tainted by the nuts, so that’s probably why. I’ve known people who break out in hives if they are touched by someone who has recently eaten peanuts. It really is scary and yet fascinating, how this allergy has unfolded.
        Thanks for reading and commenting!

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