Eau Claire Eats: Peanut Butter

Peanut butter snacks to fill your life with joy (and a sticky mouth)

Claire Schoenemann

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As a first-year student at UW-Eau Claire, my dining options are frequently limited to the repetitive menu that the Riverview Café has to offer. On nights when the only “edible” thing is a chicken sandwich, peanut butter is my saving grace. 

The versatility of peanut butter as an additive to any plain snack was recently brought to my attention during a particularly unsatisfying dinner in the Caf. 

While hesitantly eating the staple salami sandwich from the “Made To Order Deli,” a friend of mine brought over a single-serve container of Jif peanut butter that she had discovered near the salad bar. 

I watched in awe as she opened up her salami sandwich, removed a piece of salami from her deli-crafted sub, and dipped it into a perfect dollop of peanut butter. What a dinner.

My first peanut butter snack discovery: salami and peanut butter. While you may be skeptical at the mere mention of this combination, the savory flavors were one of the most delectable duos I have ever tasted.

First-year nursing student Kylie Lemay, who experienced the snack discovery first-hand, said that she thought the snack would be gross, but it’s actually very tasty. 

At first, my taste buds were overwhelmed with salami, and then the textures of the two ingredients blended, and I was left with the savory taste and texture of peanut butter.

First-year communications sciences and disorders student Paige Pfeifer, who introduced the snack, said that as a child she was obsessed with peanut butter, but wouldn’t always eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Apparently, peanut butter and salami was the alternative.

“I’m not really sure how my mom came up with this, but it is the perfect mix of sweet and salty. I’m so glad I rediscovered it after all these years,” Pfeifer said.

Salami and peanut butter was only the beginning of the delectable peanut butter-dorm snacks that have characterized my freshman year.

Ranking second on the strange snack combo is “ants on a log,” otherwise known as celery, peanut butter, and raisins. This snack was a childhood favorite of mine that recently returned to my life.

The snack combines a variety of flavors, bringing together an unlikely vegetable, dried fruit, and peanut butter all in one snack. While not a personal favorite of mine on the flavor scale, it is definitely unique. 

My current favorite flavor combination is a layer of peanut butter sandwiched between two apple cinnamon rice cakes. 

The rice cake and peanut butter combo requires no heat or refrigeration, just a plate and a knife — or even a finger in dire snacking times. This combo is ideal for dorm life due to both its accessibility and ease in craft-ability. 

A more common peanut butter combo is bananas. Adding a bit of personalization, I prefer to add jelly as well. The PB and J combo on a banana adds a smoother texture to the fruit, allowing those who are repulsed by the texture of bananas to still indulge. 

This primarily sweet treat still incorporates fruit, but with a bit more flavor. An added bonus: all of the ingredients can be found in the Caf at least three times a week.

Regardless of your snack of choice, peanut butter has proven to be a sufficient topping to just about any food group. A staple of my first year, I can confidently say that peanut butter has pulled me through my first winter at UW-Eau Claire. 

The next time you are questioning your life decisions at Riverview, check to see if they have the Jif out. 

Schoenemann can be reached at [email protected].