Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Peanut Butter by the Monthful

November is Peanut Butter Lovers' Month, an entire month dedicated to all things peanut butter! Look what I found in a vintage Peter Pan Peanut Butter recipe booklet!

Peter Pan is a brand of peanut butter produced by ConAgra Foods and named after the J.M. Barrie character. The product was introduced by Swift & Company in 1920 under the name "E. K. Pond". The product was renamed in 1928. Originally packaged in a tin can with a turn key and re-closable lid, packaging was changed to glass jars during World War II because of metal shortages, and later to plastic jars. (wiki)
The history of peanut butter is well documented all over the internet, although,  it's quite possible you have never run into a person who is afraid of peanut butter sticking to the roof of their mouth. If you should, don't you dare laugh,  arachibutyrophobia  can be quite distressing. 

I was reading this article in The American Food Journal, dated March 1923. The article, on page 149, is sort of a summary of the month's happenings. Anyway, there is no author and it is pretty long, but I would like to note some items of interest.

  1. 6-8 million bushels of peanuts were used in the production of peanut butter in 1919. (at least 5x the quantity used in 1907)
  2. Only the best grade of peanuts should be used in the manufacturing of the butter...most manufacturers buy their peanuts from cleaning and selling factories. Virginia Bunch, Virginia Runner and Spanish are the varieties most commonly used for these purposes.
  3. The equipment of the factories consists of roasters, blanchers, picking tables, grinders, bottle-filling, capping and labeling machines and the necessary boilers to run the machinery, and suitable facilities for storing, packing and shipping the raw material and finished product.
  4. Many persons have the idea that peanut butter consists of peanuts mixed with oil. As shelled peanuts contain from 13 to 50 percent of oil depending on the variety, it would be unnecessary to add oil.
  5. A cheap and wholesome peanut butter may be made at home by means of an ordinary meat grinder...if bought unshelled, the peanuts should be roasted in the shell and cooled. after cooling and shelling, they may be bleached by rubbing over a wire bottom screen to remove the red skins and loosen the germ. The meats may then be cleaned by pouring from one vessel to another in the open air, where the wind will blow out the skins.

I'm a huge fan of peanut butter fudge. The following recipe is from The Citizen Cook Book (1966) It is the recipe of Mrs. Clarence Heitzman. The Citizen Cook Book is a compiled recipe book from readers in the Shamokin, PA area. Each recipe has a picture of the person who "donated" the recipe and the address of where they live. It is also filled with local advertisers.

Peanut Butter Fudge
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup marshmallow (I'm thinking this is creme)
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 tbsp. butter
Mix peanut butter and marshmallow together in a large bowl and set aside. Boil remaining ingredients together until mixture forms a soft ball. Pour over peanut butter-marshmallow mixture. Mix well until creamy and pour into a buttered pan.
note: To Test for Soft Ball Stage: A small amount of syrup dropped into chilled water forms a ball, but is soft enough to flatten when picked up with fingers (234° to 240°) I thin an appropriate pan size would be an 8x8 inch pan.

The following recipe for peanut butter soup, is from A Friendship Cook Book published by Mary Hammond Shaw, South Paris, Maine 2nd ed. April 1939.

Peanut Butter Soup
One quart milk, one heaping teaspoon butter, two large tablespoons peanut butter, salt. Put butter and milk in double boiler, just before it boils add peanut butter, when melted beat mik with egg beater, strain, whip one-half cup cream and add just before serving. Keep hot for serving.


  1. This Mary Hammond Shaw was My GG grandmother ,my youngest sister has 2 of Mary's cook books ..
    by chance does anyone have any info on Mary ?

    Have a Great day ...chris

  2. Hi Chris?
    Thanks so much for visiting. Unfortunately, as is the case with many recipe donors and authors, very little is know about them. Perhaps, this is a reminder for the present generation to catalog and note family recipes for future generations. What are the titles of the 2 books your sister has? Just curious as I have another hardcover book of salads which may be by the same author.

  3. though i've never known anyone with that particular fear, i can see where they're coming from. if there's one food substance that can choke a person, it's peanut butter! :)


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