Your foodie travel memories: I wanna tell you a story about peanut butter
America's super-sweet flagship spread
We're all familiar with peanut butter. Even if you've never actually tried it, peanut butter has somehow reached your life because you've seen it a thousand times in Hollywood movies and American TV Shows from when we were young. You heard about it. Peanut butter is the Ford Mustang of spreads. If it were a TV show, it would be Seinfeld. If it were a sneaker, it would be a pair of Adidas Stan Smiths.
Photo by Olia Nayda on Unsplash
Back in my school days there was this Italian-American girl who wouldn't shut up about her American dad. All day, every day, she would rave about her trips to the U.S., and college and the highways and football and fast food joints we'd never heard of because "it's not McDonald's, you know". We all kinda liked her. Actually, if we're honest I think we all felt sorry for her because she was alone all the time. Her parents were divorced and her American dad, well, he was always in America. Long story short, one day we were having a party at her place, and all of a sudden she shows up with a peanut butter jar. We're talking about twenty years ago, remember, and peanut butter wasn't readily available in supermarkets in my country. I tried it, and I seem to recall I didn't like it very much.
Photo by @plqml // felipe pelaquim on Unsplash
Years later, it feels like a lifetime, I'm in Los Angeles, sharing a home with seven or eight people I didn't know before. Every day, like clockwork, I wake up, toast some bread and spread peanut butter on it. For about a month, that was my daily breakfast and the start of my daily routine even though there was no routine because every day was different. Sometimes it rains in L.A.
I filmed this with my phone in the patio on an exceptionally rainy day. It was around 7 AM in November 2018 in L.A.
I'd wake up in the morning and go to Little Tokyo or Long Beach or Koreatown or Downtown. I even went to Compton a couple of times. Some days were uneventful, some days were packed with stuff to do. Some days I'd meet people, some days I'd be on my own. But the peanut butter breakfast never changed and I grew accustomed to it. It was my ticking clock, my metronome. Los Angeles is a wonderful city, probably more so if you're a visitor and not a resident. My favourite writer once said that L.A. is "a suburb in search of a city". It is also, more to the point, a standalone universe that tries to pass itself off as a big town. But it isn't just a big town. There are thousands of different versions of L.A. and they're not necessarily intertwined with one another. Sometimes I even smile in L.A.
Taken in West Hollywood, November 2019
Now, like most people, I'm stuck where I am. I can't move and I don't know when I'll be able to travel again. I don't particularly miss peanut butter and even if I did miss it, it wouldn't be a big deal because every supermarket has it these days. But I do miss L.A., and I do miss travelling. Which is actually the whole point. I want to travel again. Damn, I'm sad now. I'm gonna have to drown my sorrows in peanut butter.