The Bravest Peanut
He's an icon in the food world – an ambassador for salty goodness. His smiling mug has represented first class snacking since 1918.
He's a dapper presence hiding a world of sadness.
As I reached over to grab another handful of low carbohydrate mixed nuts I took a moment to read the label of the three pound Planters tub. What I saw sent a sickening chill through my body and left a bad taste in my mouth that had nothing to do with the hazel nuts or the May 2006 expiration date.
Bragging boldly right on the front of the package, the label brazenly shouted to the consumer: "less than 50 percent peanuts!" This declaration appears just an inch away from the world's most famous peanut.
In a society as politically correct as ours, it's a shocking, divisive marketing approach. There was a time when the peanut was a cherished member of our snack food legacy. Before the Dorito, Bugle, and Cheez-It, the peanut was there for us at ballgames, in front of the TV, and in our PB & J sandwiches. It was a pioneer delivering fat and salt into American colons long before the advent of prepackaged conservative-filled junk food.
And now, the unique, delicious peanut is being publicly marginalized right under the proud nose of Mr. Peanut. George Washington Carver just rolled over in disgust.
As I look more closely at the iconic Mr. Peanut, I can not help but see sadness in the eye not covered by the still-stylish monocle. I imagine he knows exactly what's going on but his pride will not allow him to stop representing his kind. I'm betting moments after the photo shoot, a tear streaked down his face reminiscent of the classic anti-littering commercial from the 1970's.
It's my bet that Mr. Peanut will continue to don his top hat, put on his white gloves, and hold his black cane at a 45 degree angle as long as the people at Planters give him the chance to represent his fellow legumes. And represent them – he will.
Bravely. Proudly. And with just the right amount of salt.
Godspeed, Mr. Peanut. Godspeed.