When I was in elementary school, right after the invention of paper but well before the concept of word processing, school lunches were, in a word, edible. Shoot, some of them were really good. Good as in these days we might blog about them. For many of you, I know that sounds as absurd as government subsidies to corporations with profits in the multi-billion dollar range, but really, they were good.
My favorite day was Wednesday. At Horace Mann School in Bakersfield, CA, we almost always had chili beans, corn bread, and peanut butter honey squares. There was other stuff too, but seriously, I did not care. They could have served roasted sprinkler heads and I would not have noticed. I LOVED chili beans with corn bread. But even more, I lived for peanut butter honey squares. The coolest thing, by far, was getting to sit with my friend who did not like them at all. Can it get better than that? It's like going to Noriega's and sitting with people who don't like pickled tongue. You dream about these things. (I guess the Noriega's comment is regional, but check them out on Google if you don't live in California.)
When my children were in school, peanut butter honey squares were around somewhere, but they were few and far between. They had to experience them which meant I had to make them myself. Now those were the days when anything healthy had to have wheat. Can you believe it? The only issue was what form the wheat would take. Wheat germ won out. I began with peanut butter, honey, non-instant dried milk, and wheat germ. I cringe just writing it, but that was the stuff from which peanut butter honey squares were made. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
Somehow along the way, let's call it the muse of creativity and not a young mother's laziness, the squares kind of disappeared. Being rather, okay seriously, irreverent I renamed them. I was now serving my children "peanut butter poop." I'd make it in a bowl, keep it in the refrigerator, and scoop it out as needed. Rolling the mass into irregular light brown logs was just fun. I have wonderfully creative children, so they were on board from the beginning.
It began to get even more delightful when new generations came along. My grandchildren were introduced to peanut butter poop with ease, as were their cousins. One of my favorite stories is one my daughter, Kristen, tells. Her sister-in-law, Erin, whose son had spent some time with us off and on, appeared at her door with a jar of peanut butter and a jar of honey. She said something like, "Okay, I need peanut butter poop." The wording may not be quite accurate; I hope the message is.
For better or worse, that's part of the legacy I leave my children. They both cook well, very well, and I believe they both approach food with awe, admiration, and no shortage of irreverence. I am one proud parent.
Details of peanut butter poop are almost anticlimactic. You need to make it your own. Take some peanut butter (these days I use almond butter) of your choice. Stir in a sweetener, honey or maltitol syrup or maple syrup or agave or raw sugar. I don't use milk anymore, but if you do, add some dried milk. It's so very forgiving. And it's so very good.
Make up your own name, just don't tell my children or grandchildren or nephews or any of their friends. For all my focus on irreverence, peanut butter poop has become sacred around here.