Anyone who knows us will testify that my sister and I are wildly different people and yet we are two peas in a pod. On a rather chilly Friday in early September, we made plans to spend some quality time together. Brianna, fresh into her junior year of college, had no classes that day so I took some time off work and we headed to the Jersey shore. We decided to meet at my parents’ house and drive down together. Now, I am a morning person by nature; my sister is not. When it comes to the beach, however, she very quickly becomes a morning person. So around 8 a.m., Brianna piled in my car with all kinds of bags – beach bags, food bags, even a blanket that folded into a bag – and we were off.
Naturally, by the time we sprawled out in the sand a mere 90 minutes later, the two of us were so hungry that we made an unspoken agreement to skip the snacks and dive immediately into lunch. Usually, I am in charge of the meal and my sister handles the snacks. This time, though, Brianna said she had a surprise for me – in addition to the homemade 7-Layer Bars my mom sent with her. Knowing how busy I’d been with AWP’s Peace Works Camp, my sister had taken the liberty of putting together our favorite beach day lunch: good ole’-fashioned PB&J sandwiches. She reached into one of her many bags and pulled out two sandwiches, one with creamy peanut butter and grape jelly (for her), the other with crunchy peanut butter and strawberry jelly (for me). I couldn’t help but laugh as I took the exact same thing out of the lunch bag I’d brought. Looking back, it was a good thing we had extra food…after all, it was only 9:30 a.m. when we ate our First Lunch. We spent a solid eight hours on the beach that day, eating, reading, chatting, eating, listening to music, walking…eating. And even though a seagull stole those 7-Layer Bars, and we had to enjoy all four of our PB&Js in sweatshirts instead of bathing suits, we enjoyed them nonetheless. In fact, I remember thinking how perfect an ending that trip was to our 2013 beach season. And yes, that was due in large part to Brianna, but since November is National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month I think I owe a little thank-you to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg for patenting my favorite food on earth.
Whether you enjoy yours creamy or crunchy, with jelly or a baseball bat (click here if you don’t know what I’m talking about), in a Reese’s cup or with a spoon, alone or with a nutty family member, I love that PB has something for everyone. There are even recipes for peanut butter play dough for those of you who don’t like to eat the sticky stuff.
Odd as it may sound, peanut butter has become central to a lot of my family traditions – PB&Js on the beach, peanut butter pies on birthdays, a shot of peanut butter liquor on Christmas Day, keeping a jar of Jif in the car. Ok that last one really just pertains to me and my dad, who may be more “Peanut Butter Addicts “ than “Peanut Butter Lovers”. In college, I got my friend Laura hooked on it, too – instead of drowning our sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, like many people our age, we often took comfort in sharing a jar of crunchy Jif, a bag of pretzels, and some chocolate milk. As I’m putting this all in writing, it seems incredibly silly to be thanking a snack food. But peanut butter has always been there for me, and never fails to bring my friends and family together. And for that, I am grateful.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS…AND HAPPY PEANUT BUTTER LOVERS MONTH!
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