When’s the last time you had a homemade peanut butter cookie? Really? That long ago? Me too.
Which has me wondering – what happened? I grew up baking peanut butter cookies. But I didn’t know that there were only two generations before me with the same experience. I hadn’t remembered that peanuts weren’t even grown in the U.S. until just before the turn of the 20th century, when thanks to George Washington Carver they were cultivated as an alternative to boll-weevil infested cotton crops. Carver’s 1925 article, How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption, includes recipes for cookies containing peanuts (and peanut doughnuts, and peanut soup, and liver with peanuts), but nothing containing peanut butter.
, which wasn’t even invented until the 1920s. A recipe for peanut butter cookies first appeared in the 1930s, along with the first time ever instruction to press dough balls flat with the tines of a fork, which is how my grandmother did it, and is still done today. Except that it is hardly ever done today.
What would cause peanut butter cookies to fall so out of fashion?