Your Proclivity for Peanut Butter is Petrifying

Glued to my seat at the dinner table, five-year-old me waits nervously as my mother stirs a jar of peanut butter. The sound of the oil and peanut grounds mixing together is the equivalent of nails scratching a blackboard — distressing and nerve-racking. Its acrid scent permeates the room and reminds me of a poorly-kept gas station bathroom, which is the last place I would want to eat any food. As my mother dumps a spoonful of peanut butter onto a white plate, I gag in contemplation. To me, the spoonful of peanut butter is more akin to a skid mark on underwear than an appetizing spread that millions of Americans enjoy. 

Intensely looking down at me, my mother yells, “Eat it!” My eyes alternate between looking at the skid mark on my plate and the spoon placed next to it. With hesitation, I lift the spoon and take a modicum of peanut butter. As the spoon gets closer and closer to my mouth, I brace myself, hoping that I can quickly swallow it without tasting anything. Gulp. 

“I can’t do this,” I plead to my mother. “It doesn’t taste good.” Ignoring my complaints, my mom still forces me to finish eating it until my plate is clean. After that, an ostensibly perennial aftertaste of peanut butter lingers in my mouth for the next week. 

If it wasn’t obvious enough, I detest peanut butter and peanuts in their entirety. As someone who has never been a fan of nuts — save pecans, walnuts and almonds — peanuts have always left a bad taste in my mouth, literally and figuratively. In their purest form, peanuts taste like wet, moldy wood. Even when incorporated into dishes like Kung Pao chicken, my favorite Chinese dish, the presence of peanuts ruins the flavor profile of every food. 

While their crunchy texture can certainly make mushy food more palatable, they fail to deliver the same effect as adding tortilla chips, pita chips or roasted chickpeas to a meal. After just a few cycles of chewing, they always turn from a crunchy topping to a grainy garnish that simulates eating sand. 

However, the most offensive aspect of peanuts is their smell. If I’m being honest, describing the scent of peanuts as similar to a gas station bathroom is sugarcoating how abhorrent I find them. Imagine gathering the carcass of an animal and a load of mulch, and then proceeding to boil them in sewage water. The thought of doing that has probably caused you the same visceral reaction I have when I smell peanut butter. 

Due to my aversion to peanuts and peanut butter, in particular, I fail to see how millions of Americans have a proclivity for eating something I consider so repugnant. Moreover, I’m puzzled by how many people can’t empathize with impassioned peanut butter haters. Not only is it an offense to people who consciously avoid eating peanut butter, but also to people who are allergic to it. So is your defense of such a popular food a hill worthy of dying on? I think not.