(Title changed to what I originally intended.)
Peanut butter is definitely an American thing. Many years ago, I travelled with the coastal steamer up to the North Cape with a girlfriend. We were roughing it (“interrail” on the boats, actually), and so brought our own sandwich fixings. Peanut butter’s advantage is that it is filling, tasty, and requires no refrigeration. So I buttered crackers with peanut butter and jam. Much to my friend’s disgust, I found out when her boyfriend joined us after a week and made a face. “Yeah, I know,” my friend said to her boyfriend. “I’ve had to look at that for a week.”
One thing I haven’t found here before, is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I remember when they first came out in the States. I thought the commercials were stupid, but the product tasted great. And there they were, in the candy section at the movie theater (finally saw the new Bond yesterday; I approve). I haven’t seen any Hershey’s products in Norway before, except for the chocolate in the American “section” at my local supermarket recently. (Hershey’s is to USA what Freia is to Norway.)
I ran into a neighbor at the movies and enthusiastically told her that Norway was now stuck with me; my last reason for going back to the States had gone now that peanut butter cups are available here. Not surprisingly, she turned her nose up at the idea of something with peanut butter in it. Yes, Norwegians do eat peanut butter (it’s a regular staple at most stores), but they don’t have the American fondness for it.
A basic sandwich in the US is PB&J; a basic in Norway is a slice with fårepølse (mutton sausage, made out of several animal meats, not just mutton, and a unique flavor I will forever associate with Norway). Then there’s Charlie Brown’s favorite comfort food, mentioned in a “Peanuts” comic I once read: PB and butter in equal amounts, fold the bread over. I had that today. And my Reese’s. Delicious!