Peanut butter is a strange one, operating as it does in the culinary hinterland between sweet and savoury. At least, this is the case with regard to British peanut butter; I am reliably informed that its American cousin is unambiguously sweet. I could use this as some kind of metaphor and embark upon an incisive social commentary regarding Britain, America and the differences thereof, but I am not in the business of profundity. I am in the business of average food. And crying tears of abject failure.
Growing up, I only ever associated peanut butter with either toast or sandwiches, both of which are definitely savoury. I cannot emphasise this strongly enough. Chocolate spread is for children; if you are an adult fan of chocolate spread you are an infantile moron. Honey is nice, but only in the context of cake or porridge, or maybe to flavour ale with. Put it on toast or in a sandwich and it becomes wrong. It’s like Leviticus dammit – these are the rules, don’t question them. Putting peanut butter in a sandwich makes it savoury, so when I found out about the American proclivity for peanut butter and jam in the same sandwich, my mind was blown (I didn’t know that American peanut butter is much sweeter). Sweet and savoury together? There is surely little worse. Many a time has my heart sank upon finding fucking raisins in my rice. I am very much pro-segregation when it comes to sweet and savoury. I could labour the racial analogy a bit more, but I’m a bit too nervous to do so.
At least, I was pro-segregation. Like the protagonist in American History X, however, I am a changed man. My mind and my heart have opened; my gustatory prejudices have evaporated like, erm, milk. I dunno. Anyway, I am no longer a food bigot.
And here is why: blackberries and peanut butter. Let’s crack on with the blackberries first, let’s get this into some kind of order.
Blackberries are a fairly high-percentage fruit. Most fruit is violently unpredictable; pick up an apple, for example, and there is probably a 3 in 5 chance it will be a bit shit. Plums have a 7 out of 10 chance of being rubbish, and don’t even get me started on apricots. Blackberries, I would say, have about a 5 in 7 chance of being pretty, pretty, pretty good. This is not as high as a lychee, which is almost unimpeachably good (peaches, ironically, being unimpeachably pretty bad), but it is still good. Another good thing about blackberries is that you can find them growing wild in the most unlikely places; as AFB co-founder Gary will attest, I once foraged for them on the terraces of a non-league football match.
And lo, it came to pass that I did combineth blackberries and peanut butter sandwiches on the same plate, and yea – it was good. It must be mentioned that the sandwiches were with wholemeal bread, which definitely made the whole experience more wholesome, more artisanal. Using cheapo white bread would have rendered the whole thing exceedingly tawdry, like licking Angel Delight off a prostitute. But no: wholemeal peanut butter sandwiches combined with blackberries makes for a very decent meal. Or not really a meal, more of a snack. But very decent nonetheless. I’d give it a good, solid 7.5/10.
So there we have it. I have seen the light. I am no longer a food Nazi. Now if I could only do something about this Swastika on my forehead…