Mind Over Miller: Peanut memories

Mind Over Miller: Peanut memories

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Oct 01, 2010


It really happened
I suspect that peanut butter was an American invention. It was rather unknown until recent decades in Europe. One of our interns at my former practice was a new graduate from Sweden, Kalle Johanssen. We called him Karl. When it came time for him to go home, he wanted only one souvenir from the United States—a huge jar of crunchy style peanut butter.

Peanut butter was around when I was a little boy. And, of course, peanuts were a long-time American staple. Remember the Civil War song "Peas, peas, peas, peas, eatin' goober peas. Goodness, how delicious, eatin' goober peas." Peanuts helped feed the Confederate army.

When I served in the post-war occupation army in Germany, the mayor of the town of Aalen pleaded with my commanding officer for high-protein food for the people. He explained that they had enough high-calorie starches to eat, such as bread and potatoes, but they needed protein.

Major Charles Palletti passed the word to Military Government Headquarters in Stuttgart, and they responded by sending two large trucks loaded with peanut butter.

When the shipment arrived, a crowd of citizens, including the mayor, was waiting in the marketplace.

"Nussbutter? Nussbutter!" The mayor raged. "You call this food?"

Major Palletti was offended.

"Take it back to Stuttgart," the major commanded—and back it went.

My final peanut story revolves around a time when I spoke at a veterinary conference in Georgia. One of the members picked me up at the airport, and we headed for the conference, over an hour's drive away.

"Y'all like bald peanuts?" he asked.

Bald peanuts? I assumed he meant shelled peanuts.

"They got some good ones down the road," he assured me.

Soon I saw a roadside stand. There was a big sign: Boiled Peanuts.

Robert M. Miller, DVM, is an author and a cartoonist, speaker, and Veterinary Medicine Practitioner Advisory Board member from Thousand Oaks, Calif. His thoughts in "Mind Over Miller" are drawn from 32 years as a mixed-animal practitioner. Visit his website at robertmmiller.com.