Language Lens

A blog about life, discovery and culture through the lens of language and linguistics.

Peanut Butter, It’s like Gold

I love peanut butter.  I guess I fell in love with it during the days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and yet I didn’t know how much I loved it until it became difficult to get.  It’s a great and easy snack, with a great taste, and it’s really American I now see.

I can get peanut butter in BA, but if you find it, it’s either a creamy color paste with a lot of oil on the top, or you’re going to pay a lot for a small amount, which I have been and would be willing to do, if I was really desperate.  I was in fact holding out on the peanut butter purchase until my trip to the US, where I could maybe get a friend with a Costco membership to help me buy an irregularly large jar (those who know Costco are smiling now), or maybe I’d just find one at a typical grocery store.

So I found it, a large but not obnoxious jar of Jif, and I bought it.

The time then came to return.  I packed my bags and knew I was a little over weight-wise.  Arriving at the airport, I inevitably had to reorganize as I was about 10 pounds over in a bag!  You don’t realize how much things like shoes weigh… or jars of peanut butter.

So I placed the Jif in my carry-on and proceeded through security only to find out that peanut butter is considered a liquid according to US airport regulations.  No!  That meant that I couldn’t take it on the plane as it was clearly not a 3 oz. container.  I wasn’t shocked but disappointed, well yes.  I even told the security guard, who was surprisingly understanding and apologetic that where I’m going “it’s like gold.”  He too must know how special it is for expats.

Peanut butter is an American taste I’ve realized.  There’s a Latin American equivalent: Dulce de Leche, although not in taste.  I think it’s an equivalent in the fact that it’s a well liked taste that is used everywhere, and I mean everywhere.  It’s hard to get a dessert without it in fact.  And then what about Vegemite for Aussies, or Nutela for the Germans-neither of which I really know how they are viewed culturally but I suspect it’s similar to enjoying peanut butter?  It’s an acquired taste of the cultures you see!

Judging by a new product, it looks like Cheerios understands the importance of taste, (although they compare Dulce de Leche to caramel when someone who really knows about Dulce de Leche will tell you they aren’t the same.)

And now look to the left.  The beloved peanut butter.

It’s become more important to me than ever.  I’m back in Colorado due to travel complications, and of course I’ll buy another jar.  Maybe Jif or Peter Pan, definitely creamy.  I thought I had missed my chance.  Glad I didn’t.

Here are some language notes about Dulce de Leche, which is said to be an Argentine invention by the way.  Different countries have different ways of calling it:

  • Argentina and Uruguay: Dulce de Leche
  • Chile and Ecuador: Manjar
  • Colombia, Peru and Venezuela: Manjar blanco (or) arequipe (depending on the region)
  • Mexico: Cajeta (and not exactly the same product)

For more information on Dulce de Leche (as there’s more to read than you expect): go here.

http://pinterest.com/pin/250653535482103836/

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