If you have a peanut allergy, this post is not for you and I advise you not to read on, because I will be talking about my love for the delicious, peanut-y paste.
This weekend I finished my jar of peanut butter that I brought with me in August. The jar of Market Pantry Creamy Peanut Butter, "creamy fresh roasted peanut taste" as it says on the label, was purchased at Target and opened in the beginning of August and lasted three months. That is a long time folks. Almost everyday I would come home, take a cracker or two and spread a little bit on top as a treat to myself. It was not the highlight of my days, but it was pretty darn close.
I'm not sure where my love for peanut butter began but I think it stems from the late night snacks my dad and I used to have when my mother worked the night shift at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center as a nurse and I was in kindergarten. The four saltine crackers with a light coat of peanut butter were stacked one on top of another to make a saltine-peanut butter sandwich. The tower of crackers and peanut butter made a thick paste that called for a glass of water after two bites, but let me say it was delicious, and probably didn't help my waste line one bit.
What many consider to be strange is my strong dislike for jelly to accompany the peanut butter. I never understood how people could mix the two together and make a PB&J, hold the jelly and you have a deal. In fact, all through high school I lived off of peanut butter sandwiches. Everyday for lunch that is what I had: a PB&J sandwich, hold the jelly, a banana or another fruit, and water. So scrumdiddlyumptious. If you cut the bananas up and put them on the sandwich it was ten times better.
In Spain, there is no peanut butter. I have looked and cannot find it. I asked Irene, my señora, as well as Dani, my intercambio, and they had no idea what I was talking about until I explained it in grave detail and even then they thought it was a strange thing to put on bread. Irene said, "Este es un condimento muy extraño," (This is a very strange condiment) and Dani just stared at me and said I was weird. I guess both responses are correct.
It is strange to think about all the things you miss, especially the little things. Here the group misses ketchup, you don't get it a lot and when you do it is a single packet like you would receive at a fast-food drive thru. The same goes with mustard. We also miss free water at restaurants. Madrileños say they have the best water in the country because it comes from the mountains, so why don't they give it to us instead of bottled water? Ice cubes are also missed by the majority of us. They are just nice to snack on. Oh, and hamburgers. Red meat is not very common to eat here; chicken, fish, croquetas are all the norm but red meat is expensive.
In summary, if you wanted peanut butter, ketchup or mustard you should bring it to Europe. Emily, one of the girls in the program, had her mother bring ketchup for us, we are forever indebted to her. A friend of mine is sending me peanut butter in a care package, bless her soul, and as for the free water, ice cubes and red meat - that all will have to wait until December 22, 2012 when we step back on American soil.
Lastly, for you peanut butter lovers and for pure amusement, check out this amazing song about peanut butter that I found on this underground website called YouTube: