As someone who likes to consider myself a fairly literate person, it is with some embarrassment that I must admit I have never read John Steinbeck’s famous book "The Grapes of Wrath." I know only that it is not actually about grapes, although the main character is named Tom Joad, which is an anagram for "To do: Jam."
Still, there’s already plenty of wrath in the world, so I figured for today I’d just focus on the grapes part. And lest I be accused of this being a cop-out topic for a column simply because I haven’t read Steinbeck, I should clarify: This isn’t just sour grapes. I’m foxy enough to realize that there’s the seed of a column here, so I thought I’d have a little one-man jam session. As the kids say, don’t be jelly.
Jelly (or jam) is probably the form in which most American kids are most commonly used to interacting with grapes. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, otherwise known as the PBJ, was a staple of childhood for many of us. Although it has been a few years since I was a kid, I presume kids still eat it. It’s sweet and messy (even if it’s second on both to the fluffernutter), quick and cheap to make, and simple to send off to school or what have you. That’s why in the 1960s, there was a popular chant, "Hey, Hey, PBJ, how many kids you fill today?"
Of course, now that I’m an adult and trying to eat less (and fewer) processed foods, I have the more pure version of PBJ, which is raisins and peanuts. I guess technically, the pure form of PBJ would be peanuts and grapes, but grapes are too big and would totally overwhelm the peanuts. That’s why I make my deconstructed PBJ with raisins. Raisins are like grapes, only even more concentrated without the excess water. If you think about it, raisins are essentially the espresso of grapes, and espresso is a very classy thing to drink. So I try to feel classy when I have my cocktail glass of peanuts and raisins.
Peanuts and raisins remain a popular snack not only around the house, but especially for hiking. So often do people eat this on the trail, in fact, that peanuts and raisins (sometimes with chocolate and other additives) are called "trail mix." The other common name for this collection of food is "GORP," which stands for Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. Of course, at that point if you remove the raisins, you’re left with GOP, which is just nuts.
Lest my readers think I’m some goober who automatically dislikes all Republicans, I should point out that I like some of the old-school variety, but I hear through the grapevine that traditional conservatism is having an increasingly difficult time finding a seat at the table, since someone who is the spitting image of the Mad Hatter has taken it over for his own preferred type of party.
Speaking of a spitting image, the most important thing about grapes for me is that they be seedless, otherwise you can picture me having to spit out lots of seeds. And that inevitably leads to this conversation:
"What the Dickens are you doing?"
Seth Brown is a humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and bad puns are his raisin d’etre. His work appears weekly in the Banner, and weakly on RisingPun.com