I’m not usually one for calling people names, but if you think that smooth peanut butter is better than crunchy peanut butter then you’re wrong. Dead wrong. Crunchy is superior to smooth in just about every facet imaginable, and I will not respect the opinion of anyone who thinks otherwise. Smooth peanut butter is a claggy and muted food paste, lacking in any real chutzpah and drive, while crunchy peanut butter is an urbane and well-structured spread with an enviable jawline. Crunchy is the overwhelmingly more talented sibling; the favourite child of the family; the only acceptable form of PB in a PB&J sandwich; and quite often the only reason that I even bother getting up in the morning.
Yes, MOB, if crunchy peanut butter is the Wayne Gretzky of the spread world – an argument which I’m passionately in favour of – then smooth peanut butter is Brent Gretzky. And if there was ever an ice hockey analogy that summed up the lopsidedness of that peanut butter dichotomy it’s this: Wayne and Brent hold the NHL record for most combined points by two brothers – 2,857 for Wayne and 4 for Brent. Let those numbers soak in for a second. Just like Brent, smooth peanut butter was talented enough to make it to the show but, also like Brent, it’s never going to be able to get out from underneath its brother’s imposing shadow. In playground speak: crunchy rules, smooth drools.
Even when it comes to those natural nut butters that you’ve got to spend 20 minutes mixing before they become even halfway spreadable, I’ll stand by crunchy. That deep, roasted undertone that you get from having ingots of actual nuts in the mix is always worth the extra wrist ache in my opinion. And there's even some science out there to back me up. Research indicates that people who prefer crunchy peanut butter over smooth tend to have a cheerier and more optimistic outlook on life. Probably because they're not wasting it eating smooth peanut butter.
Now, before I’m sent an angry email from ManiLife’s marketing team, it’s probably worth noting at this point that I do actually like smooth peanut butter. I think it’s delicious in its own right and, were crunchy peanut butter not to exist, I’d probably rank it up there with my top spreads of all-time. But guess what? Crunchy peanut butter does exist, and I’m not quite sure why anyone would actively choose a version of a product that’s so blatantly inferior when there's a new and improved iteration of it staring you right in the face. It’d be like trying to do your weekly work Zoom quiz on a Macintosh 128K when you’ve got a MacBook Pro collecting dust in the corner of your room. It’s nonsensical, and a little fucked up that you’re still doing work Zoom quizzes, to be honest. Just eat crunchy peanut butter. It’s objectively better. Oh, and please tell your boss to stop making you do Zoom quizzes on a Friday at 5pm. It's weird.
My favourite way to enjoy peanut butter (aside from simply tucking into a jar with whatever utensil I have closest to hand) is in a peanut butter and banana sandwich – a sanger famously championed by Elvis Presley. That sandwich, which should be all kinds of sweet, salty, and fatty, is far too mushy when made with smooth peanut butter and needs the textural intrigue of crunchy to tie the whole thing together. The tangible presence of nuts (a foodstuff nutritionists are always banging on about and recommending we eat more of) also makes the whole eating experience feel a lot healthier, too. Crunchy PB is simply a far more classy and sophisticated product.
Throw a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter into a packet of instant noodles and you’ve got a makeshift Pad Thai on your hands. Throw a spoonful of smooth peanut butter into a packet of instant noodles; however, and people are going to ask you if “you’re all right, mate?” Which they should. Because you’ve just bunged a load of Sun-Pat in a Bombay Bad Boy. That’s not cooking. It’s a cry for help.
The only situation I can actually think of where smooth peanut butter trumps crunchy peanut butter is in a maafe or peanut stew which calls for that more creamy consistency but, even then, you can simply blitz your crunchy spread to your desired texture and refrain from letting that smooth criminal take up unwarranted space in your kitchen cupboard. But maybe this is all just me being a bit pedantic. Okay, it’s definitely all just me being a bit pedantic. But that’s the entire point of this column and I stan hard for crunchy peanut butter. You smoothies can hit the road.