Most families were not ashamed to say that they were having just butter, or even margarine and sugar with their bread. The communists were creating some uncertainties to the new nation. And Malaysia being a new nation was further facing Confrontation from Indonesia. Only the wealthy would have peanut butter, butter, jam and other accompaniments for their western breakfast. Yes, I remember that to have pancakes and jam or honey for breakfast was princely. And it was a big deal.
The fear and turbulences and other hardships were causing many families to reduce their spending and living frugal lives. If they could, they would just plant their own vegetables and rear their own chickens and ducks. In Sibu town, pigs of course could not be reared. The hard Osborne biscuits and the square Cream Crackers were often used as fillers in between meals. Occasionally I still involuntarily buy some Osborne biscuits for myself and my children to dip into my kopi-0 for old times' sake.
One of the girl friends I had was very efficient and very determined to make ends meet. She helped her mother in so many different ways in order to save an adequate sum of money for her brother to study in the UK. We saw her family making buns and selling cakes from door to door. They were very happy that in the end they managed to pack up some clothes into a small suitcase and their brother was on his way to England - by boat. I thought that it was a wonderful thing for a family to sacrifice so much for a son in that manner. They were so united and kind to each other.
One day she just came over to tell me how to make peanut butter. I have just finished my sixth form and quite a number of people have disappeared into the jungle for their own political ideologies. No many people could get scholarships at that time, especially the Chinese so most of us girls and even the boys were getting ready to become teachers and get a diploma in teaching. At that time also, not many people were willing to share their recipes and they were not so outrightly friendly either. Most people would just keep what they knew to themselves, as it was safer politically to do so.
In fact I was so grateful to her for giving me that recipe. Perhaps she did not know that I kept the recipe until today. But I believe that she knew that I would never be the one to "steal her business" away from her.
I made peanut butter twice and this was because we had a blender. My mother thought that it was too extravagant to make our own peanut butter. It was just "extra" food and not necessary. Many other people could not make peanut butter from scratch because they did not own a blender.
I remember reading Dennis the Menace who told his mother that a bottle of peanut butter would make 12 sandwiches - after he actually made 12 sandwiches using one whole bottle of peanut butter. Those were the days!!
3 cups unsalted roasted peanuts (with or without the skin)
2 - 3 tbsp. cooking oil (You can choose to use olive oil) - heat up the oil in a kuali and then let it cool
1 tbsp butter/margarine
1 tbsp fine sugar
l tsp salt
measuring cups and spoons
Mix the peanuts with the cooking oil, and pour the mixture into the blender
Process the mixture until it's very smooth. Add butter, salt, sugar and blend again.
Store your smooth peanut butter in a sealed container in the fridge.
It will be good for 2 weeks.
For chunky peanut butter:
Take about 1/4 cup out of your 3 cups of peanuts and set them aside.
Mix the rest of the peanuts with the oil, and pour the mixture into the blender.
Process the mixture until it's very smooth, then stir in the peanuts that you had set aside.
Just use a lesong to pound the peanuts to create the chunks in your chunky peanut butter.
Store your chunky peanut butter in a sealed container in the fridge. It will be good for 2 weeks.
Cost : 3 cups of peanuts - about RM2.00
oil - about RM1
So it is really very economical to make your own peanut butter.
With imported peanut butter costing a bomb, I think it is very economical to make our own.
My little anecdote of the peanut butter recipe shows how warm and lovely the feeling one has when an understanding sister can be generous enough to share a beloved recipe, especially during that time. Many of us did not have recipe books, magazines and newsletters to read. The library would not have stocked any recipe book then. And when one was given a recipe, it was like getting a life long gift. I copied the recipe very quickly into my recipe book, which, as you have guessed, I still keep.
We are very lucky to have a whole TV channel 703 dedicated to food!! Forty years ago, it was unbelieveable.
Can you remember a dear sister who gave you a special recipe that you treasure?