Peanut butter and I have a very interesting relationship. As an American child, I can't really remember a time before peanut butter and jelly was a staple lunch item in my house. I went through phases with it as a kid, sometimes loving it and sometimes hating it, but eventually I forgot about it (or maybe Nutella took its place...I'm not quite sure). Then, when I started to think about eating healthier and losing weight, it became one of those items that I just couldn't have anymore because it was too high calorie, and so I of course started to crave it even though I probably hadn't had it in years. Now that I am out of that red hot diet phase of my life, I have realized just how great it is and a week doesn't go by that I don't have a peanut butter sandwich. Recently, as I was googling around the net, I came across P.B. Loco which is a company that sells gourmet peanut butters. Immediately intrigued, I decided to order their gift-set in which you got to choose any three peanut butter flavors for around 20 dollars. I chose Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (that one was finished first - it was amazing), Sumatra Cinnamon and Raisin (just finished today - also perfect), and Raspberry White Chocolate (haven't tried yet). In addition, they sent me a jar of Jungle Banana as a gift! Let me just tell you, these peanut butters turn a childhood favorite into a gourmet meal. Admittedly, I make my sandwiches with half gourmet pb and half Better'n Peanut Butter which is a lower calorie peanut substitute, but they are still REALLY good. In fact, I just finished one today with a cup of creamy vegetable medley bisque soup from Trader Joe's...the perfect low maintenance lunch for a lazy Friday.
Now for the book review. Beautiful Children by Charles Bock was the second book I finished from the NYTimes Notable Book List of 2008. It follows the lives of five seemingly unrelated individuals as they make their way through a typical Las Vegas night. In a larger context, the novel mainly details the disappearance of Newell Ewing, a 12-year-old (ish) boy who goes out for the night with his much older friend Kenny and never returns. All of the story's other characters are tangentially involved in Newell's disappearance, even though in many ways they are all beautiful, runaway children themselves. The descriptions in this book, especially those of Vegas and the desert that surrounds it, are just amazing and, even though the book ends with you never quite finding out just what happened to Newell that night, leaves you with a sense of peace and contentedness. Definitely read it if you get the chance.