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As my Spoon dug into the Peanut Butter

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I had the very unusual thought / question cross my mind. When was the first time I ate peanut butter like that? How did it start?

Well, I didn't come up with the very first time, BUT it did take me back to some interesting food memories.

My last paddling.

That's right.

My father was a believer in "spare the rod, spoil the child". When we were smaller, he used a wooden spoon. But they weren't quite durable enough and at some point (after I was 12, because the step-mother was around), he brought home a small board -- 1x2x12 and cut/carved a handle and painted it dark brown.

Some years later, I think I was 15 or 16, came the day of my last paddling. I was sitting in the living room watching TV. I had the peanut butter jar and a spoon. My father's voice came from the kitchen "Has anyone seen the peanut butter?"

Promptly I hid the jar off to the side of the couch, gave a quick wipe to my lips, and continued watching TV. Why? I don't remember it being thought of as wrong, exactly, but there were all sorts of food rules, so I don't really know. I just had the idea it would be better to sneak it back into the cupboard later rather than say directly that I had it.

He poked his head around into the dining area from which the living room could be seen and asked each of us kids he spotted if we knew where it was.

And here's what I really got in trouble for. I looked him dead in the eye and answered in the negative ... and did it well enough he believed me. When he found out later, he was livid. Not over the peanut butter. That meant nothing. I had lied. Not just lied, but lied to his face about something so petty.

So I got paddled.

And learned my lesson. Hide the evidence better, dummie.

Yes, that really and truly was what went through my head in that moment. And I did. I learned to lie to him so well he never caught me out in another.


Looking back on that time, I realize there were a number of weird food habits. None of this had to do with weight. I was skinny to average.

The step-mother came into a family of 5 kids, my father not being particularly nutrition-minded, and tried to make huge changes all at once. (My mother used to joke that he would buy two bags of cookies rather than a can of tuna to feed us because it was cheaper. How much of that was divorced spouse talking and how much was literal, I don't know. I do know we had lots of bags of cookies around the house pre-step-mother.)

At varying points milk was replaced with some sort of soy powder mixed with water, cheese with soy cheese, chocolate chips with carob chips, sugar with fructose and brown sugar and honey (considered healthier at the time), and so on. We had vitamin containers with handfuls of pills to make up for all our nutritional lacks.

One thing I remember doing at one point was being hungry for something sweet, something not in her style of nutritious. I went into the kitchen and somehow decided to roll a chunk of margarine in the oats and then in the brown sugar. It was all done quite sneakily, knowing it wasn't "acceptable" behavior.

Another thing was the jar of carob chips, meant to be used for making cookies. Sometimes I would make cookies just to eat batter and extra chips. Other times I snuck into the kitchen late at night and poured a handful of chips to eat. It got to the point that the step-mother stuck a piece of paper in the jar warning that she could tell they were being eaten. I learned to tilt the jar so it looked like the same amount unless someone took it down from the top shelf and to make cookies so it naturally was lower before that trick was spotted. At some point I even quit caring and just left her little note there with less carob chips under it.

I also started stealing money from my father's room -- both to take the public bus to school rather than the school bus and to buy lunch at school, finally getting the milk I missed that way. Thankfully, I started working at 15 and continued through graduation, so that stopped.

And, of course, there's the speed of eating. With 6 children and 2 adults, and sometimes limited amounts of seconds of foods that we actually liked, it was often a race to finish our firsts to make sure we got plenty of seconds. Later it was a race to clean the plate so we could escape the mandatory "family time" of dinner. With the most gag-worthy foods (most of her boiled past death veggies, particularly okra and brussels sprouts), if we couldn't sneak them off the plate into cup or napkin, gulping them whole sometimes worked.

So many odd food behaviors learned in that house.


Anyway, I am still wondering when it was that I first learned to spoon peanut butter directly. I mean, sure, lick the knife when I'm done -- but that would be washed. No fingers because they weren't clean. My mother's peanut butter wouldn't have been a likely target because she got it from the health food store grinding machine and it had to be stirred before each use. I'm the oldest child, with the next 2.5 years younger, so I doubt I learned it from them. I can't remember any adult around me eating it that way. It's really odd.

At my best guess, the whole "no fingers" combined with having a spoon accessible or no clean butter knife led to that first scoop.

As an aside, here's what I find truly amusing / strange about this. I love ice cream. Yet in spite of the way I can eat peanut butter, I cannot remember ever eating straight from the carton unless there was less than a serving left. All those TV shows with someone scooping direct from the pint and several pints around them make me shrug and shake my head. (Replace them with peanut butter jars, though ... well, no. I don't think I could eat an entire jar in one sitting. It usually takes me at least four mindless munching moments over a few days.)

Unfortunately ... my spoon kept digging into that peanut butter as my mind wandered down memory lane. I'm going to have fun fitting the rest of my nutrition into the day.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your blog brought back memories. We weren't spanked or yelled at for taking food. Instead, we had comfort food staples (cookies, snack cakes, candy, chocolate, and ice cream pies) to be there when life got hard and we needed something comforting.
    1839 days ago
    I read your title and thought to myself that is good protein!! I remember when my brother got whacked with a wooden spoon. Mom hit him so hard the spoon portion broke from the handle. I remember he cried and then laughed so hard because that horrible thing broke. My Mom never used a wooden spoon again!!! She said she could not bear to hurt us. We used them to cook and that was it!! To this day - I still don't use them!!! Have a great day!! Moni
    1839 days ago
    I remember 'sneaking' a tbs of peanut butter from the jar, making sure the label was facing the same exact way, & that the jar was in the same exact spot in the cupboard.
    My stepmother was from a family of 6, which meant my food was meticulously rationed- even though I was an only child.
    I was underweight all my childhood, & hungry because she was an awful cook, & I was a picky eater.
    Those peanut butter spoonfuls saved me.
    1839 days ago
    Great blog eating peanut butter and a banana for my snack as i read your blog .Thank you for sharing I think peanut butter is easier to take sneak tastes Ice cream is so hard unless you let it sit the spoons bend emoticon

    1845 days ago
    emoticon It is funny how different things in life shape us. Thanks for sharing.
    1847 days ago
  • JMOUSE99
    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    I was occasionally spanked when I was a small child - always by my mother, never my father. I don't think it ever would have occurred to her to spank a teenager, though. Interesting it only made you better at hiding stuff!
    1847 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1848 days ago
    Peanut butter on a spoon is probably one of the easiest and best snacks ever. Since once it's on the spoon, you have a portable snack. The only rule in our house is you have to use a clean spoon in the jar every time- Plastic spoons come in handy with kids around.
    Funny. I was spanked by the wooden spoon too. In fact, my mother found herself continually buying the darn things, as for some reason they seemed to just disappear. My siblings and I used to sneak a wooden spoon out once in a while, and chuck it as far into the neighbors field as we could. I'm sure my mom knew we were getting rid of them, but she never said anything. I happen to agree that corporal punishment only made us work harder at not getting caught.

    Thanks for sharing your memories- takes me back to some things I havent' thought of in a long time. Enjoy your peanut butter!
    1848 days ago
  • KATI5668
    ahh a peanutbuttercycle..better than any popcycle I bet!

    I eat peanutbutter the same it was a treat on a stick,,errr spoon!

    neat blog..lots of thought & memories there.

    thanks for sharing....

    1848 days ago
    I wouldn't think of eating it from a spoon, just a knife
    1848 days ago
    emoticon for sharing.....
    1848 days ago
    I'm glad you still learning...
    1848 days ago
    My DH eats peanut butter with a spoon. And although I love the stuff, I've never tried it that way. Generally mine is a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
    1848 days ago
    I don't eat peanut butter by itself, but I'm the probably the only person in my immediate family that doesn't. So it just seems perfectly normal to me. It was and is my Dad's favorite nighttime snack.

    1848 days ago
  • CIPHER1971
    Awesome blog
    1848 days ago
    What a great blog. Thanks for sharing these childhood memories. I don't know about the whole "spare the rod and spoil the child" thing. I got smacked once, across the mouth, because I swore at my mother. I was about 16 and her reaction was quite swift. The interesting thing is that two of my sibs and I have the worst potty mouths ever. But we don't direct it at our mother. On the other hand, we have a kid who lies constantly and who will steal if he gets the chance. But we don't bother hitting him, because it doesn't do any good. We gave up spanking him once he turned 10. Maybe it works for some kids but not others. I had to shudder though, at your description of your father making his paddle. That's a dedicated punisher.

    I eat peanut butter with a spoon out of the jar too. In fact, that's the only way I eat it. And now I will forever wonder how that got started, because I have no idea either!! emoticon
    1848 days ago
  • 1EMMA2011
    The best way to keep kids from lying is to stop asking questions. I feel for you here with this topic. Brilliant post. Enjoy reading your blogs.

    1848 days ago
    Sorry, but I chuckled when you wrote, "And learned my lesson. Hide the evidence better, dummie." Ahh, the teenage mind. lol

    I remember sneaking raisins(among other things) from the box of Raisin Bran cereal, . Despising meat as a child, I've wondered if I weren't lacking iron at the time. Perhaps you needed the fat. I know your focus was more on the behavior, but maybe it was an actual physical need. (?)
    1848 days ago
  • KLONG8
    Thanks for thinking through food things from your past and sharing. Sounds like some tough times as a kid..... emoticon
    1848 days ago
    I still don't know why I'll open those bags of chocolate chips and nibble on them.

    Great blog, Pal!
    1848 days ago
    I've often heard people argue for 'spare the rod and spoil the child', but those same people also say that the lessons they learned were to be sneakier, not get caught. I was spanked once in my life because I needlessly woke my parents on a Saturday morning. I don't lie, cheat, steal. I don't drink to excess. I have a well-paying professional job. If I find out a cashier has overpaid me, I take the money back. My daughter once shop-lifted. I took her back to the store and she had to give it back to the store manager and apologize. She never did it again, as far as I know. It reminded me of the time I stole 21 cents (!) from my father's coin pile on his desk and had to pay him back. It was terrible to know that my father thought I was a thief and I knew from that moment on that I would never ever ever steal again. I wanted his respect more than I could ever want the money.

    It seems to me that hitting children teaches the wrong lessons.

    As to peanut butter, well, fingers get sticky if you put them in peanut butter and it's just wrong to eat off a knife. It seems a spoon is the way to go!

    1848 days ago
    Nice topic, I enjoyed your blog!
    1848 days ago
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