Tag Archives: Peanut Butter

After Peanut Butter and Salmonella

When I’ve written about food borne illnesses in the past, whether it was Mad Cow or E.Coli, it was always in the abstract. Though the news stories surrounding both of the topics above seemed pervasive in the national media, I never seemed to know of anyone, or be contacted by anyone who had been directly affected by those diseases.

Over the past several days, this has changed.

I’ve spent the weekend reading both e-mails and comments from people who were/are directly affected by the Salmonella outbreak from Conagra’s Peanut Butter. I’ve heard from wives who watched their husbands suffer after they had eaten an apple topped with peanut butter, to parents who were horrified that they fed this garbage to their children. I read about people blaming their water supply to people thinking that it was a bug going around. Everyone one of these people have communicated shock and dismay that it was a simple jar of peanut butter that has affected their lives so.

To these folks, I can only say a few things.

First, I am sorry you had to go through this. I realize that this may sound shallow coming from someone whom you have never met, but I do feel as frustrated as you do. As anyone who was near me can testify, I could not stop bringing this topic up this weekend. I understand that you had put your faith in a system, and that system has failed you.

Secondly, use this as a learning experience. Be mad, but be smart! If you have recently eaten the peanut butter, SEE A DOCTOR! Then, go home and wrap up the peanut butter and take it to a lawyer. Do not throw it away, as it is now evidence. Keep it out of the reach of children, and keep it stored in such a way that it will never be used, but keep it. This goes against what both Conagra and the government are telling you.

Long term: keep up to date with the producers of food, and ask yourself relevant questions regarding your food decisions that you make with these producers. How many recalls is too many for a company to have? Are you willing to pay more for brands that have a better track record with safety? Which companies own your favorite brands? Where is your food is coming from?

We are entering a new era of food production and distribution. And evidence is coming in that we cannot put blind faith in any company that puts food in our pantries and on our tables. It is up to us, as consumers, to hold them to the standards we want and to hold them accountable when they fail to meet those standards.

tags technorati : Peanut Butter Conagra Salmonella

Peanut Butter Salmonella outbreak


If you haven’t heard the news, then take a look at the following from the FDA:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan peanut butter or Great Value peanut butter due to risk of contamination with Salmonella Tennessee (a bacterium that causes foodborne illness). The affected jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter have a product code located on the lid of the jar that begins with the number “2111.” Both the Peter Pan and Great Value brands are manufactured in a single facility in Georgia by ConAgra. Great Value peanut butter made by other manufacturers is not affected.

If consumers have any of this Peter Pan or Great Value brand peanut butter in their home that has been purchased since May 2006, they should discard it.

So far, almost 300 people nation-wide have been reported to have been affected by this. The number is probably larger due to the folks who didn’t seek out health care.

More later.

tags technorati : Food Safety,Salmonella,Peter Pan Peanut Butter

Things I did not know…Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

It never once in my life occurred to me wonder who the heck Reese was when it came to Reese’s Peanut Butter cup. Color me oblivious.

It turns out that Reese was a real person, and that the peanut butter cup later sold by Hershey was indeed his idea. Harry Burnett Reese came from a big family and he himself had many children. He had worked as a dairy manager for the Hershey company for a bit, but lost his job when the farm was later closed.

It was his desire to give his children a better life and feed his growing family that encouraged him to try his hand at making candy. He created the peanut butter cup in 1928 which quickly became his most popular item.

The cool bit? His family history is on line, with a special bit about H.B. Reese.

Technorati Tags: Biography, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Candy, Food History

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Tonight for dinner, I didn’t want anything fancy. So I had Beer Brats and Perrier. This dinner is what cultural anthropologists would call a “mixed message”.

At any rate, I was looking for something sweet to finish off the meal, and didn’t want to get too fancy. This recipe filled the bill perfectly. I also got extra points for using homemade blackberry jelly so graciously offered by a coworker.

  • 1/4 stick unsalted butter, soft
  • 6 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite jam or jelly

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large glass mixing bowl, combine the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Whisk until you get a fluffy peanut butter mixture of sorts. Add the egg and mix that in well. Finally, add the flour and salt, and mix in until you get a crumbly dough.

Set aside 1 cup of the dough.

In an 8″ x 8″ pan, press the remaining dough firmly in as a crust. Make sure that it fits from one side to another. Using a spoon, spread over the jelly so it covers the bottom crust. Coarsely crumble the one cup of dough that you had set aside over the jelly layer. Place in oven for 30-35 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 45 minutes. Slice and serve.

yield: About a dozen bars, give or take, depending upon how you cut them