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Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) Hardcover – November 20, 2012


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Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) + The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book: Savory and Sweet, Breakfast to Dessert, Hundereds of Ways to Use America's Favorite Spread
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Product Details

  • Series: Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231162324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231162326
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Jon Krampner's Creamy and Crunchy is a delightful book about America's most popular nut butter and sandwich spread. It is action-packed, peopled with medical professionals and corporate giants, captains of industry and hard-hitting advertisers, vegetarians and health-food advocates, and farmers and peanut-butter lovers. It is a well-written, fast-paced, surprising tale about the delicious food we thought we knew. One nibble, and you can't stop reading!

(Andrew F. Smith, editor in chief, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America)

As a peanut-butter aficionado, I found this an excellent, convincing book written in a casual, journalistic, almost folksy style that cleverly disguises the real research done for it.

(Noël Riley Fitch, author of Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child)

Creamy and Crunchy is a witty, encyclopedic history of one of America's most iconic processed foods. It is chock-full of fun facts and surprising insights into the way we eat today.

(Aaron Bobrow-Strain, author of White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf)

Enjoyable and informative.

(Jon Michaud New Yorker)

well written and at times very witty...

(Justin Peters Washington Monthly 1900-01-00)

A great book has been born.

(Yum.fi)

A comprehensive and entertaining account of peanut butter and how this popular food assumed its place in American food culture.... This informal, folksy discussion will likely appeal to curious consumers and those interested in the history of food.

(Library Journal)

Jon Krampner is a wonderful guide to the many paradoxes of this all-American food...

(Bee Wilson Times Literary Supplement)

A lively and entertaining book.

(Rob Hardy The Columbus Dispatch)

Creamy and Crunchy is the definitive history of this scrumptious staple, an entertaining and informative read.

(The Past in Review)

...an enjoyable, interesting overview of an important part of American culture...highly recomended.

(Choice)

charming and entertaining

(Tim Sullivan Harvard Business Review)

Review

Creamy and Crunchy is a fast-paced, entertaining, and wonderfully gossipy look at the history of everything about peanut butter, from nutrition to allergies and genetic modification -- and with recipes, yet. Everyone who loves peanut butter will want to read this book (personally, I prefer crunchy).

(Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health, New York University, and author of What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Guest Hollow on February 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Every once and awhile I like to break up my fiction reading habit with something like this. Creamy & Crunchy turned out to be not just informative but really enjoyable! I'm not sure why this book originally appealed to me, other than the fact that I grew up eating peanut butter and even as an adult it continues to be a comfort food I indulge in from time to time. I'm glad I took the time to indulge in this book. You'll be too, if you want to know just about everything there is to know about the trivia and history behind this iconic cupboard staple. Just make sure you have a jar of your favorite peanut butter on hand. It's too tempting not to go and get a spoonful after reading a few chapters! ;-)

There is a wide variety of topics included in Creamy & Crunchy - from the peanut's humble beginning as a low class food (it was fed to the pigs after all!) to its rise as the main ingredient in our nation's beloved peanut butter. There were lots of fun stories and facts discussed like the rise (and fall) of several peanut butter brands, the health benefits of peanuts (did you know they rival apples, carrots, strawberries and more in their antioxidant content, contain resveratrol an anti-aging component and are associated with reduced heart disease and reduce cancer risk?) as well as plenty of history, trivia and interesting tidbits that kept me reading (and learning) to the end. One of the surprising things I learned: the George Washington Carver I had been taught about in elementary school is mostly a myth, at least when it comes to peanuts. What a way to burst my 4th grade "peanut day" bubble.

Even though Jon Krampner covered a lot of different topics, he had a great narrative flow to the whole thing so it didn't feel like a lot of disjointed facts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard M. Mahler on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like millions of Baby Boomers, I grew up on peanut butter. How many hundreds of Skippy (extra chunk style) peanut butter sandwiches did my mom send to school with me? I dunno, but such sandwiches still spell c-o-m-f-o-r-t to me 50 years later, although I've switched to Trader Joe's organic crunchy in the interim. Jon Krampner tells, with engaging good humor and impressively researched detail, the fascinating story of this truly all-American foodstuff. Who knew, for example, why mainstream PB became so sweet and smooth? Or how Skippy fell from its pedestal as the top seller? Or the complicated processes involved in growing, harvesting, and roasting those humble peanuts? I loved this book and didn't want it to end. Like a perfectly executed PBJ, Krampner's offering is by turns reassuring, nourishing, and delicious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun on November 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Mark Kurlansky seemingly created a new history sub-genre with his work on Salt and Cod. Now comes Peanut Butter and that seems like a good idea for a book given 75% Americans consume it. The book is a fun romp through almost every possible angle: diet and nutrition, allergies, advertising, cultural impact, recipes and peanut butter etiquette. Readers just have to get past the fact that despite their name, peanuts aren’t nuts…they’re legumes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. C. Covington III on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is very informative, but is probably a little long. It is full of more information than I ever wanted to know about the history and development of Peanut Butter
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Krampner set out to make a book about peanut butter much like what Mark Kurlansky did for Salt, one of my favorite non fiction works. He did it. Hope he follows up with something else, because he is both informative and entertaining. Now to the store to get some of those special brands he mentions.
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Format: Hardcover
Who doesn't like peanut butter? Even if you were raised on it and profess to hate it, you still eat it in some form or other (most likely wrapped in chocolate). Creamy or crunchy, organic, generic or name brand, it is probably still a part of your pantry. It is definitely in mine and I cannot make a sandwich without the dogs hovering nearby to lick the spoon clean (when I'm done with it, that is).
Creamy and Crunchy is the definitive history of this scrumptious staple, an entertaining and informative read. It is a story that dates back a couple of millennia, when the peanut was first domesticated in South America, moves forward to the 1890's and the first documented reports of use as peanut butter, right up to the present day. It encompasses the hardship of the black peanut farmer, marketing and clever advertising campaigns and the stories of the Jif, Skippy and Peter Pan brands.
This is an academic history and an avalanche of information but it is served up in digestible portions, at times witty and definitely subtle. So go and make yourself a sandwich or grab the jar and some crackers and enjoy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got this for my 81st birthday and am eagerly looking forward to reading it. I've always liked peanut butter.
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Format: Hardcover
I bet you have a jar of peanut butter in your pantry. I do; and if I need a quick and easy meal, peanut butter on crackers and a glass of milk is not only quick and easy, it is scrumptious. I don't know that like average Americans I eat six pounds of peanut butter a year, but Americans do like their peanut butter; people in Europe and Africa tend not to like the taste and texture. Those are some of the many things I learned in _Creamy & Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food_ (Columbia University Press) by Jon Krampner, who "lives in Los Angeles and has a slight preference for crunchy." There has, Krampner says, been no volume about peanut butter like the ones we have had recently on candy, bananas, salt, or cod, and so this is a welcome description of peanut butter in all its facets: history, botany, economics, chemistry, and more. There are forty pages of footnotes, but this is a lively and entertaining book for anyone who wants to know more about a favorite food.

Peanuts were first domesticated in South America more than 3,000 years ago. They came to America with shipments of slaves. It took them a while to lose the taint of slavery or of being a food for poor people. This was not true of peanut butter itself; it began as a treat for the upper classes. The fad for health sanitariums at the beginning of the twentieth century included peanut butter in salads, sandwiches, and soups. There was a vendor selling peanut butter at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the first time many Americans got to try it. Beech-Nut and Heinz introduced it nationally, and the country was hooked. National distribution could only happen with hydrogenation which was introduced in the 1920s.
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