I know I can’t be the only person in America to prefer eating peanut butter from a spoon. Sure, if I absolutely have to, I’ll put the spread on bread. But that’s not my first choice.
I also adore frosting sandwiches: left over cake icing between graham crackers. Yes, I’ll confess. Sometimes I buy a jar of icing and crackers just so I can make some.
My mother was a great cook. She could take leftovers and make a gourmet meal. So my simple approach has nothing to do with the meals served in our house when I was a child.
In fact, my mom was big on nutrition before anyone was talking about it. She always put out a big vegetable garden and canned or froze fruit so we’d have a variety of tastes at each meal. We ate lots of beef and chicken that we raised ourselves and, being from a dairy family, milk was the meal accompaniment.
Yet it was that same mother who introduced me to the above mentioned frosting sandwiches. I suspect that was because she didn’t want to toss our leftover butter cream frosting in those days when it had to be made from scratch.
My late sister is the one who got me started on peanut butter on a spoon. She was almost always the leader. She’d drag me into something and manage to vanish by the time my parents noticed something was going on.
Still, I’d keep on doing things with her even though I knew better. So when she told me she knew where there was some chocolate, I went along.
It turned out to be baking chocolate, which is bitter. After I made a face, she grabbed the peanut butter jar, dabbed some on and told me to try it then.
(Oh, for the record: There were no adults in the house at that moment. They were all working outside and we were out of their view.)
I didn’t think the peanut butter helped. She called me a baby and walked off
in a huff. I put the chocolate back and consoled myself with several teaspoons of crunchy peanut butter.
That exercise in sneaking through the food supplies led us to try other stuff we found just to see what it tasted like untouched.
Marshmallow fluff, a must component in my mother’s fruit salad, is oh, so good right off a spoon. We also discovered it made a great substitute for frosting, leading our mother to wonder why in the world we went through so many boxes of the tasty brown crackers.
Maraschino cherries, the topper for the many gelatin salads that graced our table, are equally good straight from the jar. We were always careful not to take them all. And I’m pretty sure my mother noticed their disappearance but decided to let her two little thieves get away with it.
I’m not the food adventurer I once was. But I do try the occasional interesting-sounding combo even though my sister isn’t here to egg me on.
Some of them, like Jello powder mixed in with yogurt and cream cheese, are pretty good. Some of them aren’t.
But I will say this: If you’re ever desperate for a dessert, a bowl of crunched up graham crackers topped with vanilla ice cream, honey and a dusting of cinnamon is nothing to pass up.
CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at email@example.com.