I am currently eating the greatest peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever. Seriously. Just thinking about how amazing it is made me lean back in my chair and laugh like an evil maniac. Not that this PBJ is really that different from any other PBJ, it’s just that I haven’t had a real PBJ like this in months. Japanese “peanut butter,” you see, is usually sweet, whipped, and gross. A lot of times they appropriately call it peanut whip or something, but I have been fooled too many times by products wrongfully labeled as “peanut butter” here. You expect the real deal, and end up with this sweet stuff that tastes more like frosting than that classic “stick to the roof of your mouth” goodness*. I have tried a few different brands of Japanese peanut butter/cream/whip, and all of them are awful. Too sweet, too airy, and/or too frosting-like. The only hope I saw before this was back at Costco a few months ago where they indeed had a tub of real American-imported peanut butter. Back then, I didn’t want to spend 2000 yen on a tub of PB the size of my head. If I would have gone this month, I probably would have bought it. Peanut butter withdrawal isn’t something that really nags at you; it’s fairly submissive. You might not even know if you have it. I never thought a PBJ would taste this good. However, if you are a peanut butter-loving American who has been in a foreign country for a few months, I challenge you to sit and think about a good peanut butter sandwich. You’ll probably find yourself in a pile of drool.
Salvation was found Monday afternoon when I was casually shopping at the grocery store in the nearby Ito Yokado. I was looking at the cereal section, which I didn’t even know existed, and bought some Calbee brand frosted flakes and cocoa flakes. I haven’t yet tried these, but I’ll be sure to do so something soon. I looked at an eye-level shelf, and among the standard peanut whip and peanut cream products, I found the diamond in the rough. SKIPPY peanut butter. That’s right. Real American Skippy freaking peanut butter. I read the label to make sure it wasn’t some kind of peanut cream with the Skippy name on it. Nothing of the sort. I brought it home, opened it and smelled it. It looked and smelled like peanut butter. Well, tonight I finally made a sandwich with it and I am in heaven. Thank you Skippy, for importing your product to Japan.
*I realize that line calls for all sorts of sexual references and jokes, but I don’t care. I love peanut butter too much.