I don’t see food as a way to simply mitigate hunger. Food is an art. Food builds community. Food unites people. At the CITIES studio, we put my ideology to the test with a PEANUT BUTTER CULTURAL EXCHANGE.

Let the fun begin!

Note: My personal views on food had nothing to do with the conception nor the execution of what turned into a ridiculously festive event. With the utmost sense of inclusivity, my colleagues yelled motivating words to me from the window to get me to run inside faster. By the time I had arrived at the studio, the event was at its climax.

To give context to this unique event you should know that CITIES staff comes from different countries, namely Italy, Holland, America. Given that, we recognized the various ways we use peanut butter in our respective cultures and then seized the opportunity to share our gastronomical creativity á la peanut butter. Through the lens of peanut butter (Stephanie prefers to say: through a peanut butter-smeared lens), we got in-depth looks at how food can build understanding of one another’s community.

Stephanie concentrating on perfecting her PB yogurt specialty

The typical Dutch way to eat peanut butter tends to be more savory as opposed to the sweeter American modes of consumption. What does this say about the different cultures? I will leave the interpretation up to you (mainly because I am at a loss for making any drastic conclusions…).

Bob, who seemed highly energized by the whole event, created mainly banana-based delicacies

Colleagues ventured out of their comfort zones as they experimented with various combinations of adding PB to yogurt, fruits, and vegetables. For most of the Dutch staff members, this was the first time they tried an American staple: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Post-consumption, most then vowed to never eat it again. What would any good American kid say to that?! Some creations could not be named as typically American or Dutch but more of a personal creation (like the banana with nutella, PB, and granola). Each tasting brought about a certain energy in the form of a positive or negative reaction…some had more dramatic reactions than others.

Anke and Ties trying PB&J sandwiches for the first time. The new experience was not met with much satisfaction…

People looked at one another in surprise by their mutual adoration of a dish; such an experience fostered unity around this intense satisfaction. Others bonded over their common detestation for a dish and then fueled this partnership with a continued apprehension in the rest of the tasting. It was an adventure, to say the least.

Who said peanut butter doesn’t go well with sprinkles and banana?!

Here were the combinations that left us begging for nap time (to our dismay, this wish did not come to fruition):

-Celery, PB, Raisins (commonly called ants on a log)

-Apple, PB

-PB and Jelly sandwich

-PB and Sambal sandwich

-Banana, PB, nutella, granola

-PB, yogurt, granola, raisins

-Banana, PB, sprinkles sandwich

-Banana, PB sandwich

**Tasting was paired with a glass of milk (for optimal experience, serve chilled).

Stephanie making the classic “ants on a log”

After this delectable tasting, we voted on our favorites and we want to give all of you a vote, too! Please leave a comment with your favorite PB combination or see our Facebook Page to take the poll. We also encourage you to try your own tasting and report back!

I will leave you with Stephanie’s declaration upon the final tasting: SOLIDARITY!

Written by Marisa Turesky

Posted on 20 July 2012 and filed under Uncategorized