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Saturday, February 25, 2006

PB Food: America's Lunch

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There is no chance that anyone in my house suffers from arachibutyrophobia.

That's the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. My family has nerves of steel and eager taste buds when it comes to peanut butter. We gobble it up on bread so fast that the nutty spread doesn't have time to get stuck anywhere, except maybe to our ribs.

We are not alone. America is the biggest peanut butter-loving country in the world with more than 500-million pounds consumed annually. Average American kids will have eaten 1,500 peanut butter sandwiches each by the time they graduate from high school. Hundreds of lunch boxes will cradle PB&J sandwiches next week when kids begin returning to Tampa Bay area schools. Even more will be offered on cafeteria lines.

Last year, about 58,000 pounds of peanut butter were served in Pinellas County public schools, where peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches are on the menu every day from kindergarten through high school, says food services director Gray Miller. That's the equivalent in weight of nearly five adult African elephants.

For every kid you know who loves peanut butter, there's an adult out there who loves it even more.

It's easy to find adults who eat peanut butter -- creamy, crunchy, low-fat, natural, whatever -- by the spoonful. Celebrities admitting to a peanut butter habit include Larry King, Jack Nicholson, Dan Rather, Madonna, Cher, Julia Roberts and Michael J. Fox. Elvis Presley's grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich is legendary.

See More of this Story by: St. Petersburg Times Online Taste: America's Lunch

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