The Peanut Butter You've Got to Try
Our food editor uncovers a new favorite peanut butter—and discovers she's not the only one obsessed.
I want one ingredient in my peanut butter: peanuts. No sugar, no salt, no added oil, no preservatives, no funny stuff. Just peanuts. And while there are many brands out there that keep things simple, none of them have really rocked my world….or my PB&J. So every month or so, I inevitably find myself standing in front of the peanut butter aisle at the grocery store puzzling over this jar or that jar. A few months ago, a new one caught my eye, not only for the label, which read "Crazy Richard's Peanut Butter. 100% peanuts!" but also for the price: it was on sale for less than $3. Clearly that must be a mistake, I thought. Then I actually looked over both shoulders, as if there was a hidden camera waiting for an unsuspecting cheap person to pick up the booby-trapped jar. I picked up the jar anyway. Nothing happened. It looked like a normal jar of peanut butter, and even better, the ingredient list really was only "Peanuts." Into the cart it went. And when the cashier rang it up, it was indeed the correct price. I felt like I got away with something.
And I really felt like I got away with something when I tried the peanut butter on a waffle the next morning for breakfast. It was smooth and spreadable—not gritty and dry like some natural peanut butters. Even though there was no added salt or sugar, it had a rich, well-balanced, roasted peanut flavor. When I opened the jar there was a layer of peanut oil on top of the peanut butter and the consistency was on the runny side, but after giving the peanut butter a good stir and storing it in the refrigerator, I found the texture to be perfect. And when I put Crazy Richard's to the peanut butter cookie test, it passed deliciously.
I needed to know where this Crazy Richard had been all my life, so off to Google I went. Turns out, it's a family-run company started in the 1960s by Richard Marcus, an orchestra teacher who came up with his own recipe for peanut butter and unwittingly launched a national business. Also sold as Krema Peanut Butter, Crazy Richard's Peanut Butter is still made according to Marcus' recipe, with Georgia peanuts—and nothing else.
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I thought I was onto something but after reading Amazon reviews from other Crazy Richard's converts, I realized I was just jumping on the bandwagon. "Richard can do no wrong," says one reviewer. "Best on the market for health I was told and always never touch anything else," said another. And my favorite review of all: "You have to stir some, but it is worth the stir." It's worth the stir, folks. I couldn't have said it better myself.