Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It Takes A Nut

It helps to think about peanut butter when you need moral strength.

William F. Buckley
I remember peanut butter. Peanut butter has a special place in my heart at Thanksgiving. As I wrote once or twice I faced a Thanksgiving Day with a broken can opener and a stove and oven that didn't work. Peanut butter was my Thanksgiving dinner and I was grateful for it.

I mention it now because I'm not going to visit that story again tomorrow. Instead I'm going to write about me and Freddy Fender. But that's tomorrow.

What does peanut butter have to do with moral strength you ask? Well so did I, and here are what my musings have discovered.

The peanut. A simple, lowly, humble crop has been important to the world for a long time. Records go back to the Incas in 950 BCE using peanuts in one form or another. The Chinese have been making a paste out of it for centuries. In Africa they've been making use of it in a similar fashion since the 15th Century.

In America the Kellogg company was marketing a form of peanut butter but left it to get into the cereal bossiness. In 1955 Procter & Gmble got into the act and now produce most of the peanut butter we know. One of our former Presidents, Jimmy Carter, was originally a peanut farmer.

But the most famous name connected to the peanut is George Washington Carver. Carver was born into slavery in Missouri around 1854, no one knows for sure when. He took the name Carver from Moses Carver the man who owned him. After emancipation Moses brought George up as his own son.

As an adult, even though he was surrounded by racial hatred and the firm conviction that black people were intellectually inferior, and his huge struggle to get an education in spite of it, he went on to become a poet, a painter and a scientist.

George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter, in spite of what they still teach in some schools, that had already been done. But as a botanist Carver developed about 300 uses for the peanut.

So tomorrow, when I have my traditional Thanksgiving Day peanut butter , I will think about the moral strength of George Washington Carver, the slave who became America's leading authority on peanuts and all the other fine and humble people who invented my sandwich.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

8 responses so far.

Thank you.


mrs. miss alaineus said...

what do you think of when you need amoral strength????


happy thanksgiving db!


Mark and Elayne said...

A wonderful entry. George Washington Carver is a hero of both my and Mark's. I often had to work on Thanksgiving and sometimes, it was making peanut butter sandwiches so some of my patients as well.

Liz said...

'Motal strength' is always open to amoral comments that shimmy on the sidelines.
PS.This comment is not quite set

Anonymous said...

I try to never turn peanut butter down.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, DB.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

very insightful ....

Happy Thanksgiving Day to you though personally, everyday is Thanksgiving Day for me, peanut butter or not.

The humble peanut at my end is water, light and air.

Arlene (AJ) said...

Happy Thanksgiving DB, you'll be in my thoughts while you are enjoying my hubby's favorite sandwich, peanut butter.

pacifica62 said...

The lowly peanut has earned its' place in our hearts and in our lives. Inspirational story about George Washington Carver. I think the peanut is an important crop in many third world counties. Your peanut butter sandwich will taste very good, won't take hours to cook or hours to clean up. You've got it made.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Have a nice Thanksgiving.

Jon said...

Well, this is definitely food for thought (no pun intended?)
It doesn't matter whether you eat turkey or peanut butter - I hope you have a great day!