4/12/13

Peanut Butter . . .

Is there ANYTHING in the world as innocent in form and stature and yet as hated/feared/loathed/demonized than peanut butter?

I happen to love peanut butter. I know, I know. I'm "lucky" - I can eat peanut butter. There are people in this world that are so allergic to peanut butter and its less smooth parent, the peanut, that the mere whiff of this savory/sweet legume can put them six feet in the dirt (religious and personal preferences for postmortem handling of the earthly vessel presumed). I get it. I have allergies. Dust, dirt, pollen, hard work, differing opinions, homophobia, and adult women running errands in pajama pants ALL make me twitch, sneeze, rant, and convulse (in varying combinations). I digress . . .

Allergies to peanuts/peanut butter are serious business. That's why there is a huge, booming sub-sector of the  economy dedicated to allowing those with peanut aversions to still enjoy a nice, smooth sandwich every now and again. Almonds, sunflowers, soy, , walnuts, carrots, and even entirely manufactured chemical compounds have all been mushed, flavored, salted, colored, and jarred to sub in for and be made as widely available as peanut butter. And I say "harumph" to this ingenuity.

But where is the follow up? When well Hershey/Reese's make almond butter cups? When will those fine monsters at Smucker's Goober that make a sunflower pre-mix? What will it take for bakeries everywhere to give shelf space to the to soy butter cookie? What's that? Huh? Say again? NEVER? Oh. Okay. I get it. And WHY? Because peanut allergics (not their real, respectful label) are in the vast MINORITY in this land of ours. They are the flukes. They are the outliers.

Yet we prevent other children from even bringing peanut butter in to a school out of respect. We don't let airlines serve bagged peanuts anymore for fear of air born AND airborne allergic reactions. We label foods with all caps and bold lettering if there is even a CHANCE of peanut exposure to the food inside the packaging or on the plate. And I'm fine with that. (I'll bet you thought I was going to RAGE here - but . . . no.) Because if it can help keep that 1:135,765 safe - I'm okay with that. Truly.

We need to protect those in need. We need to keep those who can't help themselves safe. We need to provide for the fluke. Respect the fluke. EMPOWER the fluke. This goes for kids/passengers with peanut allergies, the developmentally disabled, the "differently" sexually oriented, the blind, the deaf, the threatened, the fashion challenged, the fans of dub-step music, and the frustrated.

It's bad enough these folks will never (safely) know the joy of a tablespoon of peanut butter with a squirt of canned whipped cream upon it in a kitchen lit only by the refrigerator's glow at 3 AM - they don't need to fear the world around them on top of it.