AROUND HOME : Notes on Cashew Butter, and Garden and Animal Events : A New Spread

PEANUT BUTTER'S BEEN in the news a lot lately. It seems we're all eating a whole lot more of it. And why not? Given a choice between, say, a steak and a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, what sensible person wouldn't opt for the latter? Provided, of course, that the peanut butter came from Magee's.

Magee's began grinding freshly roasted peanuts into peanut butter in 1917. In those days, the business was located in downtown Los Angeles' Grand Central Market. Then in 1934 Blanche Magee opened the first food stall at the Farmer's Market. Soon people from all over were discovering that Magee's fresh peanut butter was so much more delicious than the stuff you could buy in ordinary shops that it was worth ordering by mail.

Magee's Peanut Butter is still as delicious as ever. But now that everybody's gotten in on the peanut-butter-eating act, you might want to move on to a better class of nut butter. To Magee's Macadamia Butter, for instance, with its enormous appeal to food snobs (if only because it is so expensive--$4.95 for a 4-ounce jar). Actually, that particular butter is eerily white, a bit lacking in smoothness and not altogether an improvement over unsullied nuts. Almond Butter's not a big hit, either--it has a tendency to remain stiff and slightly chunky.

But Magee's Cashew Butter is another matter, entirely. It is smoother than peanut butter. It is tastier than peanut butter. It is more expensive than peanut butter ($7.50 a pound compared to $2.50 a pound). And it is the perfect spread for people who want to be just a little bit ahead of the crowd. After all, now that peanut butter's all the rage, can cashew butter be far behind?

Magee's Cashew Butter is available at Magee's, in the Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles; telephone (213) 938-4127.

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