Here’s a personal anecdote to get the ball rolling: during my freshman year of college, I was so horrified by my university’s cafeteria food, I sustained myself on approximately three food items for several months: salad, pita bread and spoonfuls of peanut butter. While I’m not particularly proud of this period of my life that lacked a certain culinary finesse, without my spoonfuls of peanut butter, I likely would have experienced protein deficiency.
The moral of my story is this: whether you’re nine or 99, peanut butter-y foods are a life staple. While the plain ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich is enjoyed by both kindergarteners and CEOs alike, there is a world beyond the original PB&J on white bread. Take a look at the following various peanut butter offerings, both savory and sweet, and you’ll never eat peanut butter off a spoon again:
PEANUT BUTTER & KIMCHI:
If you’re over the age of 18, try the grown-up version of this sandwich at Green Dot Stables, 2200 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit. The menu includes Korean Sliders with peanut butter and kimchi. For those of you who are unfamiliar, kimchi is a spicy condiment, so order a tall glass of water and/or beer as well.
PEANUT BUTTER & FRENCH TOAST:
At Zoe’s House of Pancakes, 6339 Orchard Lake Rd., West Bloomfield Township, you can get your peanut butter fix first thing in the morning. The menu features Peanut Butter & Berry Sauce French Toast, stuffed with peanut butter and topped with mixed-berry compote.
PEANUT BUTTER & C:
If you have a sweet tooth, head to The Cupcake Station, with locations in Ferndale, Plymouth, Ann Arbor and Birmingham. The bakery makes its cupcakes fresh daily, including the PB & C, a confection composed of dark chocolate cake, peanut butter buttercream frosting and topped with peanut butter cups and chocolate shavings.
PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY:
Why waste your time (and calories) on an ordinary PB&J when you can enjoy one on fresh, locally made bread? Head to Avalon International Breads, 422 W. Willis, Detroit, for a Peanut Butter & Jelly with organic peanut butter and imported French preserves, served on the bakery’s pillow-y Wheaty Wheat Bread. If your taste buds are not yet satisfied, you can top your meal off with one of several goodies: a PB&J scone, Purely Peanut Butter Cookie, Avalon’s Amazing Amazon Brownies with peanut butter or a vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookie.
PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA:
On a hot, sweltering day, what better way to cool down than with a smoothie? At Tropical Smoothie Café, 30971 Five Mile Rd., Livonia, you can quench your thirst with a “supercharged” Peanut Paradise smoothie, packed with peanut butter, banana and non-fat yogurt. It’s also got your choice of whey or soy protein in it, so it builds strong bones, right?
Whether you like your peanut butter creamy or chunky (does anyone?), the above twists on this ordinary food item will give you a break from your boring desk sandwich. If you find yourself in a serious rut, stuck at home without two dimes to rub together and nothing but a jar of peanut butter, jelly and a few pieces of bread in your kitchen, mix things up. Grill your sandwich, a la grilled cheese. It’ll change the way you look at this sandwich, I assure you.