Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food

Here's the cover art for the book. Kudos to designer Lisa Hamm at Columbia University Press, who designed this retro tribute to an all-American comfort food.

Me at the entrance to the Skippy plant in Little Rock, Arkansas (Mallory Hardin Brooks photo)

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The Creamy and Crunchy Blog


November 28, 2013

Tags: peanut butter, Creamy and Crunchy, hail and farewell, sayonara

After maintaining this blog for three and a half years, it's time for me to bring it to a close. This will be the last post, and around the time the ball drops on New Year's Eve in Times Square, I will flip a switch and this blog and website will go dark.

Many of you have followed my peanut butter journey from conceiving the book to slaving on it, getting a publisher, editing it, sending it out to the marketplace and turning handsprings to try and get the media and public interested in it. On this day of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful to have had you along for the journey.

My next book will be (more…)

In the Horse Latitudes of Peanut Butter

November 6, 2013

Tags: horse latitudes, peanut butter, New Zealand, Australia, Los Angeles Times Book Festival

November marks the one-year anniversary of "Creamy and Crunchy." Things have quieted down greatly since last fall and winter, when the book was getting a fair amount of publicity. This kind of fall-off is typical for most books.

A few things may yet happen, though. (more…)

In Which the Author Is Interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

September 29, 2013

Tags: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, First Bite, Michael Mackenzie

As you've probably guessed by the paucity of my blog posts recently, things have kind of settled down with the peanut butter magnum opus. But, in a noteworthy development, I was interviewed recently by Michael Mackenzie of "First Bite," a show about all things food on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Mackenzie was a very pleasant and ingratiating interlocutor. Here's a link to my segment:

ABC's "First Bite" with Michael Mackenzie"

In addition to having been on Irish radio and getting reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement of London, now we're getting some coverage down under. Who said peanut butter was a purely American food?

In Which the Author Speaks to the Culinary Historians of Southern California (VIDEO)

July 6, 2013

Tags: Culinary Historians of Southern California, Central Library, Los Angeles Public Library, Taper Auditorium

On Saturday, May 11, I spoke to the Culinary Historians of Southern California, a group dedicated to all things food historical. I'm not comfortable with public speaking and this was at the Central Los Angeles Public Library in the Taper Auditorium, a large, wood-paneled amphitheater with a good-sized crowd. So I had a pretty good case of the heebie-jeebies before my 57-minute talk. (more…)

Indian Summer of Publicity

May 11, 2013

Tags: KMOX-AM, St. Louis, Culinary Historians of Southern California, Harvard Business Review, Alimentum, Anthropology Review Database, Community College of Denver, Maya Lau, The New York Times Magazine

Although the wave of publicity which attended the publication of "Creamy and Crunchy" in late November pretty well crested by the end of January, the book has been getting a second wind of publicity recently.

It started with (more…)

What Happened at the Arkansas Literary Festival

April 24, 2013

Tags: Arkansas Literary Festival, Little Rock

Okay, the title is slightly overblown: I'm only going to tell you about what happened to me last weekend at the Arkansas Literary Festival , where I was invited to give a talk about "Creamy and Crunchy." Here's the scoop: (more…)

The World According to Worldcat

March 17, 2013

Tags: Worldcat, Goodstein Library, Casper College

Among the fun things about publishing a book is getting to watch it appear in bookstores and accumulate reviews. And by going to the website, you can also see which libraries have acquired it.

(This is also useful if you want to obtain a book and your local library doesn’t have it. Just punch in your zip code and Worldcat will show you the closest libraries that have it.)

Weirdly, according to Worldcat, the first library to acquire “Creamy and Crunchy” was (more…)

Well, I'll Be Darned

February 22, 2013

Tags: Peanut Corporation of America, Salmonella, federal indictments, William Marler, Jeff Almer, Louis Tousignant, Stewart Parnell

More than four years ago, the Peanut Corporation of America, with plants in Blakely, Georgia and Plainview, Texas, produced and distributed peanut butter contaminated with Salmonella. Nine people (that we know of) died, more than 700 were sickened and the largest food recall in American history resulted.

What made the PCA Salmonella contamination so egregious (more…)

My 15 Minutes of Fame Are Just About Up

January 17, 2013

Tags: Larry Mantle, Evan Kleiman, "Good Food, " "Air Talk, " Vroman's Bookstore, Carol Eisner, Peter Barrett, Chinese fortune cookies, cracker-barrel philosophy

With my interview on Larry Mantle's "Airtalk" on KPCC-FM this past Tuesday and reading at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena that evening, the launch phase of "Creamy and Crunchy" has unofficially ended. I have no more interviews set up (a big hat tip to my remarkable publicist Carol Eisner for getting me as much attention as she did, and to Peter Barrett at Columbia University Press for his efforts back East). And except for a reading at the Los Angeles Central Library on February 7, I'll make no more appearances until mid-April.

It's time to catch my breath and reflect on my two months as a minor celebrity. (more…)

The Author Takes Manhattan

January 8, 2013

Tags: Leonard Lopate, WNYC, Bob Edwards, Sirius XM, Mid Manhattan Public Library, Lee Zalben, Peanut Butter & Co., Columbia University Press

Over New Year's, I went to New York City, not to be part of the milling throng in Times Square on New Year's Eve, but to visit family and promote the peanut butter magnum opus.

My first two days in Manhattan, I hung out with my father, visiting the senior center where he eats lunch and the club where he used to be a member (it's hard to wrap my head around the idea of my father being a clubman), going to the Strand Bookstore in the Village with him (they had sold all four copies of C&C!) and visiting his apartment (thank God he decided to hire a cleaning woman). I also spent some time with my Uncle Herb, Cousin John and John's friend Maria and my cousin Alison and her husband John.

On Wednesday, January 2, I went up to the Columbus Circle area, where I dropped in at my publisher's office (and to a writer, one of the most wonderful phrases in the English language is (more…)