Saturday, May 8, 2010


Years ago when M and I lived in Pittsburgh, our friends sent me a pottery wheel for Christmas. It was a secret desire of mine and I had not breathed a word to anyone about it. To this day, thinking about it reinforces my belief that there is indeed a Santa Claus. I made many tiny pots with this wheel, using an air dry clay rather than a kiln to harden them. When working with clay, I happened upon a technique that would allow me to put ridges on the outside edge of each piece. Once I discovered it, everything clicked. Nothing had to be perfectly smooth in order to be finished, or, in our eyes, beautiful. We are not a smooth family - our peanut butter is always crunchy and the placid surface of a pond always begs for stone skipping ripples. We like a little texture, don't mashed potatoes taste better with a few lumps? But sometimes what I want and what I need are vastly different. When I am feeling particularly prickly, bumpy and nubby only seems to rub me the wrong way. In a severe state of stress I find that stroking stones smoothed by the sea often soothes me.

We eat a lot of peanut butter in this house. Well, the boys - all four of them - eat a lot of peanut butter. I rarely eat peanut butter found outside the blessed confines of cookie form. Our peanut butter comes from...peanuts. At the Co-op we flick the switch, watch the peanuts funnel through the grinder, watch the butter squeeze out into our waiting plastic container. The boys tend to argue over who will flick the grinder's switch; occasionally they come to shoves and it all ends in tears. M tends to pay close attention and make the peanut butter even and neat all the way around the container. I tend to run off to grind coffee, pour olive oil and bag some rice and come back to a messy peanut butter catastrophe. Our peanut butter is not chunky, though flecks of nut can be discerned by the wise pallet. It's smooth, but not exactly smooth - it has definite texture, personality, wishes and dreams. Every batch is slightly different with its own quirks and inconsistencies - just like us.


  1. I really relate to this one. I can envision this scenario well!

  2. Do you have to stir the peanut butter from the co-op before each use? Do you keep it in the fridge? We buy all natural peanut butter (just peanuts) in a jar at Price Chopper and the oil needs to be stirred in and the whole thing refrigerated. It's worth it for the wholesomeness, but I'd love something shelf-stable and a little easier to spread on bread.

    Great blog by the way!

  3. Hi Tessa!

    Yes, we use the peanut butter you can grind at the Co-op. It stays just fine on the pantry shelf and no, we never have to stir. Though a container generally disappears by the end of the week, so I'm not sure about longevity... I've never done price comparisons, either! Hey - don't you have a peanut allergy in the house? Or has that been grown out of?! Hope so.

    Thanks Em!