At Frenzi you can get peanut butter-inspired froyo, but where did peanut butter come from? Was it invented by a corporation or discovered by an ancient culture in central Mexico? Let’s find out how this frozen yogurt favorite was inspired through the ages.
THE SECRET HISTORY OF PEANUT BUTTER
Peanut butter has many fathers. In fact, many corporations take credit for patenting the process of making this modern-day favorite. Corporate titans like Skippy, Peter Pan, and even Dr. Kellogg of Kellogg cereal fame have all laid claim to the tasty creamy peanut-ty flavor, but it may be the Aztec who deserve proper credit. Let’s start in the year 1931 and go backwards.
PETER PAN GETS IN A FIGHT
The peanut butter we know, and love didn’t exist until 1922 when Joseph L. Rosenfield patented a process using partially hydrogenated oil. It was smoother than the gritty peanut butters that came before and was packaged by the Peter Pan Peanut Butter Company. Ultimately, though, Mr. Rosenfield got into a fight with Peter Pan and decided to sell his process to Skippy.
KELLOGG OF KELLOGGS CEREAL CALLS IT NUT-MEAL
Back then, it wasn’t called peanut butter, it was called nut-meal and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg received a patent for the process of nut-meal in 1896. Even though the National Peanut Board gives credit to this quack, purists believe that unless you use roasted nuts (as opposed to Kellogg’s steamed nuts) it is not peanut butter.
A CANADIAN CHEMISTRY EXPERIMENT
Another name change, this stuff was called peanut-candy. In 1884, a patent was awarded to a Canadian chemist named Marcellus Gilmore Edson. He was trying to invent a flavoring paste. The process described running roasted peanuts through a heated mill to produce a fluid or semi-fluid by-product that cools into “a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment.”
AZTEC AND INCA USED IT AS MEDICINE
True, before modern marketers of peanut butter filed patents to claim the invention of peanut butter, the Aztec were already making it for two millennia. Unlike Dr. Kellogg, they used roasted nuts and mashed them into a paste. It was a little chunkier and it tasted a little different than today—but it was more about its medicinal properties than being a food. The Aztec used it primarily as a remedy for toothaches.
So when you visit Frenzi Frozen Yogurt in downtown Gresham to create your own perfect peanut butter-based froyo delight today, you can probably thank the Aztec and their ingenuity in the field of dentistry for inventing that beloved peanut butter flavor.
Next time you visit historic Downtown Gresham, stop by Frenzi Frozen Yogurt and treat yourself! Visit our menu to see our seasonal offerings and plan your next visit. Don’t forget to stop by every Wednesday for Waffle Cone Wednesdays — buy one desert and receive one waffle cone or waffle cup free!