Culture

Need a Caffeine Fix? Try a Peanut Butter Sandwich.

Because he evidently has no more pressing matters to address, New York Senator Chuck Schumer wants the FDA to investigate peanut butter.

But this is no ordinary PB, this is STEEM Peanut Butter, two tablespoons of which deliver as much caffeine as two cups of coffee.

From a Nov. 9 piece in Ars Technica:

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, Schumer noted in a press release. “Unsafe amounts can cause adverse symptoms like increased heart rate and blood pressure and an overdose of caffeine can be fatal.”

He went on to note: “To think that peanut butter, one of the snacks most closely associated with children, might have to be stored in the medicine cabinet as opposed to the kitchen cabinet should serve as a jolt to the FDA.”

In the past, the senator has called for bans on caffeinated alcoholic beverages and powdered caffeine. Subsequently, the FDA took actions to remove some of those beverages from the market and sent warning letters to makers of the powder.

According to the manufacturer’s website:

STEEM is caffeinated peanut butter. What else do we need to say? STEEM is designed to provide a consistent release of sustained energy and the naturally slow digestion of peanut butter is the key to that. STEEM delivers protein, electrolytes, and caffeine, granting you hours of endurance and focus, and freeing you from distractions like hunger and fatigue.

In the interest of science, as related in a Dec. 20 piece, an Ars Technica writer staged her own test, involving herself, her boyfriend, a brother and a sister-in-law.

The blind taste test failed — apparently it’s easy to detect the difference between STEEM and standard PB. But in the end:

Participant 1 wrote: “The flavor falls short compared to some other peanut butters—less sweet and slightly bitter. It had a noticeable grittiness and was ever so slightly oily, but less so than comparable all-natural peanut butters. There was a significant bitter aftertaste which was somewhat unpleasant.”

“Overall takeaway: I think I’d stick with my un-caffeinated peanut butter and coffee. There’s no way I’d substitute less-than-tasty peanut butter for my delicious coffee.”

Participant 2 reiterated that there was a lingering bitter taste but said the peanut butter had “good consistency and flavor otherwise.”

As for participant 4—me—I felt like the peanut butter was bitter and a bit gritty. I cheated and ate mine with jelly, which partially masked the bitter taste.

In summary, for some people the caffeinated peanut butter could offer a longer-lasting pick-me-up. But, because of the taste, it’s not worth it. If you need an extra boost, have another cup of yummy, yummy coffee. Schumer, at least, will be happy.

And perhaps we could save a few tax dollars as well as focus on other things, like, oh, terrorism and so on.

STEEM is available for purchase at select locations in New England, New York and California (only at Big Bear Lake, for some reason) or online. An 8-ounce jar costs $5.99 (plus $7.50 shipping in the contiguous U.S. Sorry, Hawaii and Alaska).