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In Praise of Marcellus Gilmore Edison
by Doug Hawley

The list of things that have been important to me in my life includes peanut butter, a minimal amount of human interaction, an appropriate supply of oxygen, naps and bad clothes. The order is arbitrary. I don’t know when I had my first pb (known as penis buster when no one is around to hear) sandwich because my memory only goes back for a few of my 74 years, with exceptions for early toilet incidents. My mother always wanted to add lettuce in order to get me to consume vegetables. Not a taste treat. I have dabbled in pickle, onion, jelly and banana additions, but my favorite is peanut butter with plain butter on rye or whole wheat.

Our current brand has salt and vegetable monoglycerides (from palm oil). Years of partially hydrogenated oils turned me into an old man. Those years were followed by years of mixing the oil with solids which I consistently turned into a mess. I’d like to believe that the current concoction which does not need mixing and contains no sugar will allow me to live a few more years.

Peanut butter has been featured in around thirty songs. Take that Nutella. I’m disappointed that the one that I know “Bread and Butter” by the New Beats shows distaste for this wonderful food.

The most infamous pb sandwiches are attributed to Elvis Presley. Variations were known as the Elvis or Fool’s Gold Loaf including a loaf of bread, pound of bacon, a jar of grape jelly and a jar of peanut butter. He still lived to be 43.

You would do better to look elsewhere than this short history, but here goes. Aztecs made a peanut paste for toothaches, and then in 1884 Marcellus Gilmore Edison (unrelated I think) patented peanut butter. I thought for years that it was George Washington Carver, but the always accurate internet disabused me, so I had to change the title. Another popular mistake – peanuts are not nuts, but legumes.

I feel that I have been unfair to Wheat Thins, but they have not served me as long as peanut butter.

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