Poor in New York: Peanut Butter

Peanut butter, oh peanut butter. Where do we even begin? I have a certain love hate relationship with you that began nearly a year and a half ago...

Mom rarely packed us PBJs in our lunches. We had turkey, ham, bologna - even more exotic treats like pimento cheese or egg salad.

So it's safe to say, when I moved to the city, my affair with this nutty spread was untarnished. Peanut butter was a luxury addition to apples and bananas. Not a staple to my diet.

But this ideology soon changed. Buying groceries for one is just as much of an art as buying groceries for five - particularly when your budget is about $25 for two or three weeks at a time. You learn how to shop the deals, to dig through the two-for-one sales, and slowly begin to understand what should and shouldn't be bought in mass quantities.

Peanut butter is one of those items I got used to picking up every few trips to C-Town (which is the New York version of The Food Kitty, The Sh*ty Kitty, or maybe best known as The Food Lion). Think about this: I have to pack lunch four to five days a week. That's 10 pieces of bread. Together the P and the J part of a sandwich consist of less than $5. Two loafs of wheat bread is also right around $5. So the grand total for 1.5 weeks worth of lunches? $10 bucks. Buy a $3 dollar bag of apples with a $2.50 box of Chex Mix and you're golden for nearly eight meals!

There is, of course, a problem. Sometime between July and August of this year, I had a running count of about 25 PBJ lunches in a row (excluding weekends). On that 26th day, my stomach revolted. It literally said, “No. Give me one more PBJ… just try… and I’ll make a mess out of you.”

I obeyed my stomach and splurged on a $7 salad (Argh! The cost of my meals for a week, spent in one day!).

Ahhh, but it was so worth it.

The reason I am writing about my peanut butter fixation today is because today is the first Monday in nearly a month where I’ve once again brought this classic lunch to work.

So cheers, my friends.
To soggy bread and nutty spread!

Let’s get this over with.

No. I don't buy the healthy, organic kind.
Sorry. Some things just can't be compromised.