With a more adventurous palate, peanut butter lovers today are mixing it up with a classic spread, as Susan Spencer of "48 Hours" discovers:
Start spreading the word: Peanut butter is suddenly HOT. But the menu offerings at Lee Zalben's Peanut Butter & Co., in New York City also comes spicy.
"Now that has a kick," said Spencer of the Thai Sandwich. "That really has a kick. How long is this gonna last?"
It's nothing like that bedraggled peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich you once crammed into your school lunch box.
Zalben described one of his most popular sandwiches: "It's a spicy peanut butter. We combine our Heat Is On peanut butter with some grilled chicken and some pineapple jam, so it kind of makes, like, a satay sandwich."
An American classic with a twist of Thai, one of 50 peanut butter-centric offerings at Zalben's restaurant. His mission: Get the lowly peanut out of its shell.
"I think the American palate is evolving," he said. "I think that as those cultural influences start to develop more in the U.S., we start to sort of do mash-ups with our food."
Recipes from Peanut Butter & Co.:
Zalben (who says he's loved peanut butter since he was a little kid) claims some 3,000 customers sample his nutty combinations every week, like the Elvis (presumably for non-dieters): "So we've got peanut butter, bananas, bacon, and we're gonna add a little bit of honey, just to go over the top and add a little bit of extra sweetness."
And then he GRILLS it!
"That does make you wanna burst into song," said Spencer.
Supposedly, the average kid will eat 1,500 PB & J sandwiches before graduating high school. Peanut butter is an $800 million a year juggernaut in the U.S. What could possibly slow it down?
"Arachibutyrophobia," said Zalben. "That is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth."
A fear worth getting over, Zalben says -- to open your mind, and mouth, to yummy new versions of an old friend.
For more info:
- Peanut Butter & Co., New York City (ilovepeanutbutter.com)
- Watch the Peanut Butter & Co. Channel on YouTube