“Creamy & Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter” with Jon Krampner
Peanut butter is one of the most popular American foods. When was it created? What are the stories behind the three major brands, Jif, Skippy and Peter Pan? When did natural or old-fashioned peanut butter start to make its comeback? How does the peanut butter of today differ from the peanut butter of a century ago? Why do Americans like peanut butter better than (almost) anyone else? Why are peanut allergies climbing? Jon Krampner, author of the first history of peanut butter, Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food (Columbia University Press), tells you everything you ever wanted to know about peanut butter but couldn’t ask because it was stuck to the roof of your mouth.
About the speaker:
Jon Krampner, who has had a lifetime on-and-off affair with peanut butter, is the author of two previous books, The Man in the Shadows: Fred Coe and the Golden Age of Television (Rutgers University Press, 1997) and Female Brando: The Legend of Kim Stanley (Watson-Guptill/ Backstage Books, 2006). He lives in Los Angeles and has a slight preference for crunchy.
He is a native of Brooklyn, New York, having grown up in Park Slope before it became hip. The only two foods he consistently ate as a child were hamburgers and peanut butter, and his mother recently reminded him that he even used to put peanut butter on spaghetti.
When he went away to college, he stopped eating peanut butter to see what else the world held gastronomically, and didn’t resume eating it until the early 1980’s. After a romance ended painfully, he hit the Skippy jar instead of hitting the bottle. His weight ballooned, and he had to go to a gym and consult a nutritionist to get it back under control. He stopped eating it again, and only resumed when he started working on this book. He insists that he only eats it now for research purposes.
He has worked on this book for six years, interviewing leading figures from the peanut and peanut butter industries, immersing himself in library stacks and the Internet, making several trips to the peanut-growing regions of the South and even trying to wrap his head around the organic chemistry of hydrogenating peanut butter.
A book signing and reception with refreshments will follow the talk.
Mark Taper Auditorium
Central Library (Downtown)
630 W. 5th Street
Free and open to the public.