The Myth of Peanut Butter

I never thought I’d be one of those people waxing poetic about the joys of American comfort foods. In general I think it’s better to dive into the local food in a foreign country and not to spend a lot of time thinking about what you’re missing. The food here in Germany is awesome, and I love the way Germans are passionate about freshness and high quality and naturally-made things.

However, peanut butter, especially for the mom of two young kids, is hard to get away from. Before we moved here, an American friend who had lived here told me to pack extra peanut butter in our shipping container because the peanut butter here “just isn’t the same.” I didn’t listen, thinking I’d find a perfectly acceptable German version. I didn’t realize then that I’m a real peanut butter snob.

Peanut butter is sold in just about every supermarket here. Most of it is an off-brand American export, which tastes decent but is full of hydrogenated oils and junk. Then there’s natural German peanut butter, but it took me awhile to figure out what’s wrong with it. They don’t roast the nuts, so the flavor is bland and the color is blond, not tan. All of this peanut butter comes in tiny little jars, about enough to last two days in my house.

But when we visited the Netherlands, the natural-style peanut butter we had was awesome—-more like the Trader Joe’s version we’re used to. Turns out the Netherlands has a long and illustrious history of peanut butter-making and eating, often for breakfast. 

I wasn’t quick enough on the draw and didn’t buy any Dutch peanut butter while in the Netherlands. But lo and behold, when perusing the Thai Shop around the corner (how lucky am I to have a Thai shop around the corner?) what did I find but American-sized jars of Dutch peanut butter. Now we’re regulars at the Thai shop, and I think they even raised the price because of us.


4 thoughts on “The Myth of Peanut Butter

  1. I NEVER thought I’d care about peanut butter, let alone check luggage just so i could pack two “american sized” jars of it, but I do. The stuff we get here is Arab, also blond (I hadn’t figured out that it wasn’t roasted but i think that’s why its kind of sweet) and unsalted.
    Thanks for the fun post!

  2. Emily this is a great tip. I’ve never been inside of the Thai shop, I’ve not even eaten at the restaurant before (have you? is it good?) but now I will go because that PB sounds great and exactly what I need to put on toast now and then in the morning. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this.

    • Hey Holly! Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed it. The restaurant is, sadly, not fabulous, though we do eat there occasionally. The shop also has dried mango, some Indian things, and tahini. The best Asian food we’ve had in Hannover is at the Vietnamese place near the big Edeka on the Lister Meile. It’s very decent, and we eat there often. Just had some awesome Turkish food at Tandure in Linden the other night.

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