Stock Up on Peanut Butter – or on Matches?

Have you recently made a mad dash to the grocery store to stockpile food for the Apocalypse? It’s surprising how many websites there are that are dedicated to helping you with that. In that stockpile you will surely have peanut butter (as well as rice, ramen noodles, canned beans and meat, honey, alcohol…and maybe even powdered milk!).

I counted over 30 brands of peanut butter at Google Shopping! We like this Woodstock.

Something that doesn’t seem to appear on any of those lists is multiple boxes of matches. And that’s what the main character in the book I just read – The Wall (Die Wand) by Marlen Haushofer – is concerned about following an apocalyptic-sort of event. She’s worrying about having the ability to start a fire. She’s alone, except for her animals, and down to 4000 matches. She calculates that’s enough for about 5 years.

My most-favorite-ever apocalypse novel will always be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but Haushofer’s novel, which was first published in German in 1963 and translated to English in 1990, may be a close second.

In relating this apocalypse tale to Andy, he reminded me of the 1981 film Quest for Fire. Janet Maslin, reviewing for the NYTimes, wrote, ”Quest for Fire” is more than just a hugely enterprising science lesson, although it certainly is that. It’s also a touching, funny and suspenseful drama about prehumans. Andy mostly remembers the tribal members learning about “the missionary position,” 🙂 – but I’m more impressed that it was a woman who provided the desperate Cro-Magnon tribesmen with the knowledge of how to start a fire…when theirs had gone out.

Andy, in today’s Andy’s Corner has a lot to say about his youthful personal quest for fire. Ha!

If you want to find out more about apocalyptic kinds of food, you’ll get some good insight from an article posted in 2020 on the BBC’s “Future” site: The Food That Could Last 2000 Years. It recommends seeking food that can be preserved by drying, salting, and chilling (is it naive of me to wonder how you’d chill something?). And “things that are high in sugar tend to last a long time…since refined sugar will not support any microbial growth at all.” I should probably be posting a toffee or a hard candy recipe – at least if the recipe doesn’t contain dairy or eggs.

The BBC article points out that Twinkies have a reputation for long life (which is a myth). In the 2009 film Zombieland the protagonists spend the entire movie searching high and low for a Twinkie in their post-apocalyptic world.

A gift from Maui. Should we use it now – or keep it for the Apocalypse? Without hesitation, we voted to use it now! 🙂

If you want to pursue this gloom and doom topic more, you really should read a recent article in The Guardian: “The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse.” I guarantee you’ll feel gloomier after reading it. But the article does have one snippet of advice that seems to have merit: “the best way to cope with the impending disaster [is] to change the way we treat one another, the economy, and the planet right now.”

Do I recommend reading The Wall? Well, it was admittedly a hard read, but I’m so glad I made it to the end. Though I wouldn’t say the ending was exactly upbeat, there was something very positive about the conclusion. Here’s a good quote from Haushofer’s novel – “something new is coming and I can’t escape that…and I shall deal with it and find a way.”

I vote that you retrieve your peanut butter and sugar and honey and whatever else you’ve got stashed away in the bunker and enjoy it all now. And to help you use up those multiple jars of apocalyptic peanut butter and bags of sugar, here are two great recipes to try out. Just don’t expect the cookies and ice cream to last 2000 years!

Peanut Butter Crisscross Cookies

Peanut Butter Crisscross Cookies

  • Servings: makes about 30 cookies
  • Print

Recipe can be easily doubled. Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1965.

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter, white and brown sugars, egg, and vanilla (a food processor works well). Blend in the peanut butter. Mix the flour, soda, and salt together in a separate bowl and then mix that into the creamed mixture.

Drop by big rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased sheet pan, spacing several inches apart. Press each cookie with a floured fork to make a crisscross patern.

Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on the pan and then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.
Peanut Butter Ice Cream (with a PB Crisscross Cookie)

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

  • Servings: makes a scant quart
  • Print

If you’re in a hurry and want to avoid the tricky egg cooking, you can omit the egg yolks entirely and simply whisk all of the ingredients together and then freeze in the ice cream freezer. You’ll give up the custardy taste, but it will still be yummy. In a taste test Andy and I actually preferred the ice cream made without the yolks. As for ice cream freezers, we really love our old-fashioned White Mountain freezer, but tend to use our Cuisinart when we’re pressed for time – and aren’t doing a large amount. Recipe adapted from Melissa Clark and the NYTimes.

  • 1 c whole milk
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c creamy or chunky peanut butter AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • 4 large egg yolks – ONLY if you are doing the custard-based ice cream (Melissa suggests using 6 yolks)

For ice cream without the custard base (i.e., no eggs): carefully whisk the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, and peanut butter until smooth (note: the mixture will want to splatter, so adding the cream and milk a little at time will help). Freeze immediately in the ice cream machine – or refrigerate and freeze it later in the day or even the next day.

For ice cream with a custard base: In a small pot, simmer cream, milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves. Remove pot from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks. Then, whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream. Return the pot to medium-low heat and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Whisk the mixture until all is blended and smooth. Cool to room temperature, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours before freezing in the ice cream machine.

Melissa Clark has a wealth of other flavoring suggestions, using this ice cream base – with the peanut butter omitted. We suggest replacing the P.B. with 1 c of Nutella for a fun variation. Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.


  1. Robert Carleton says:

    Not sure I’d want to be buying fire-starter stuff in California during this perpetually horrible fire season. I missed the book… missed the movie as well, but just put the book on my Kindle. ThanX!


    • theRaggedys says:

      Andy here: I agree about the California situation; that kind of fire brings up a bevy of not-so-happy emotions. And I have not read the QFF book. I became aware of the movie because a colleague used it in his intro soc classes.


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