Friday, June 24, 2011

Food for (good) footing

*Disclaimer: I am a cook/chef who enjoy running and being active. My take on food is skewed towards the delicious and nourishing nature of all things edible, not so much about the micro nutrients on the cellular level. I cook and eat wholesome, real food, but I do have a layman understanding of food chemistry that sometimes will make me sound smarter and more scientific than I actually am. Please don't be fooled.*

Peanut Butter...
Some people swear it should be its own food group, some drool uncontrollably at the mention of the very words, yet some develop rash and gasp for air (where's the epi-pen? stat!)

I believe PB and J is universal. Growing in Java, Indonesia, my Mom used to make PB&J for afternoon snack. Not breakfast, mind you, because in Indonesia we eat rice three times a day, by golly - you eat PB&J for snack!

In College, I survived many months on ramen and PB&J. Working in commercial kitchens, surrounded by luscious foods, there were times I crave for the simple spread of PB and strawberry jam after I churned out plates and plates of steaks, chicken, duck, pork, and pastas all night long.

As a runner, PB is a perfect pre and post run food. Yes, it is calorie dense, but it's delicious, satisfying, inexpensive, and - while full of fat - it contains loads of protein for muscle recovery and fiber that keep you feel full longer, so you actually consuming less. And the fats in PB are the heart-healthy kinds: mono- and poly-unsaturared oils.

I'm not saying you should eat a jar a day, a la Biscuit below.

But do add it to your pantry. I recommend the 'natural PB', or at least read the nutritional label for yourself; most of commercial PB have significant amount of high fructose corn syrup or sugar, to me it's a moot point given the natural sweetness of peanuts. Natural PB will separate in storage, so when you dip a spoon in to make PB&J, give it a few stirs to mix in the oil. For unopened jar, simply turn it upside down every few weeks so the oil seeps back into the PB.

Jams are not the fast friend of PB. PB gets along great with apples, banana, chocolate (who knows, right?), crackers (saltine anyone?), celery, raisins, blended into a shake and (take it from my Indonesian upbringing) made into a peanut sauce for pasta/noodles/raw salads.

Speaking of which, lunch time is here. I'm craving for a salad with peanut sauce now.

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