Chicken barbecue sauce recipe showcases versatility of peanut butter

The seemingly lowly peanut butter that was a staple of my school lunches has ties to some of history’s luminary figures.

Even better, peanut butter is a nutritiously dense food not limited to juvenile fare.

The ancient Incas and Aztecs of South America ground peanuts into a paste.

A closer version of what we know as peanut butter today is attributed to Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Canada (1849–1940), who in 1884 patented a process for turning roasted peanuts into a paste, according to the National Peanut Board.

In America, cereal pioneer Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852–1943) patented in 1895 a process for turning raw peanuts into a butter-like consistency. Machinery developed by others expedited the production process, allowing peanut butter to gain wider appeal.

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But, credit George Washington Carver (c. 1864–1943), born into slavery before the Civil War’s end, for harnessing all the potential of the peanut. After he earned a master’s degree in agricultural science, the first Black man to do so, he was named in 1896 director of agriculture at Tuskegee Institute.

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