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Creamy and CrunchyAn Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food$
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Jon Krampner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162333

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162333.001.0001

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The Social Rise of the Peanut

The Social Rise of the Peanut

(p.14) Two The Social Rise of the Peanut
Creamy and Crunchy

Jon Krampner

Columbia University Press

This chapter charts the social rise of peanuts in the United States. About half of the American crop of peanuts is turned into peanut butter, a quarter is used to make snack nuts, and a quarter winds up in peanut candies. When refined, the peanut makes a good-quality cooking oil that can be heated to high temperatures without smoking. Jackson County, in the central Florida panhandle, is one of the most prolific peanut-growing counties in the country. A number of festivals are held in different places to celebrate the peanut, including Dothan, Alabama; Wilson County, Texas; Grand Saline, Texas; and Suffolk, Virginia. During the Civil War, the Northern naval blockade of the South forced the Confederacy to use peanut oil as a substitute for whale oil to lubricate machinery, and southern house wives used peanut oil instead of lard as a shortening in bread and pastry and as a salad dressing, instead of olive oil. Around the turn of the twentieth century, machinery was invented that made harvesting peanuts more efficient, turning them into a viable, large-scale cash crop.

Keywords:   peanuts, peanut butter, United States, peanut oil, cooking oil, Jackson County, festivals, Civil War, cash crop

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