I scream, you scream, we all scream for… Pic’s!
Pic’s has something of a cult following in New Zealand and further afield. For those of you who don’t know, Pic’s is peanut butter. Even if – heaven forbid – you have never tasted Pic’s, chances are that you have seen the jar with a big red star at your local supermarket or on your friend’s shelf. The famous Pic himself started making peanut butter for himself in 2005 after munching into a sugary peanut butter spread that left him with a foul taste in his mouth. He knew he could do it better, so he did. In 2007, he set up a stall at the Nelson farmer’s market with peanut butter he made in his garage. Within six months, he was moving into his first factory. The rest is peanut butter history.
Fast forward to 2022 and I am holding in my hands the very first Pic’s Really Good Recipe Book. If you ever wanted to know what peanut butter is good for apart from spreading on your toast in the morning, this book is solid gold. Naturally, every single one of the 60-odd recipes feature Pic’s peanut butter (or almond butter, as we’re not being picky about our nuts). Smooth peanut butter fans and crunchy peanut butter fans alike, be assured there is something for you both in these pages.
This recipe book no doubt already has a ready audience in those for whom Pic’s is part of their weekly shop. This reviewer would like to argue that it also deserves a wider audience. Given its apparently singular focus on just one spread, it is necessary to let you know that this is not just a recipe book about peanut butter. What’s astounding is the variety of recipes. We begin with ‘Breakfast, Snacks, and Drinks’, where you will find, of course, peanut butter on toast, but with a twist. You’ll also find milkshakes, mouth-watering peanut butter and jam crumble muffins, banana bran muffins and sweet baked kumara drizzled with the spread. Next comes ‘Mains’ with its savoury focus: here we have risottos, stir fry, curry, burgers, flatbreads (there’s satay sauce of course, but if you were expecting just that, then you will find yourself happily mistaken). Finally, ‘Sweets’. This section makes the most of the ever-popular combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Here you will find peanut butter cake, peanut butter banana cake, a variety of swoon-worthy slices, cookies, ice cream, and peanut butter cups. Even the dogs will go nuts (excuse the pun) with a special Canine Cookie included in the offerings, apparently at the request of Pic’s trusty dog Fido. There’s something for everyone. A number of recipes are, or can be made, gluten free and vegan.
Pic’s is not only tasty. There’s a feel-good factor in eating Pic’s. Pic’s is a flourishing New Zealand business and it also commits itself to health, sustainability, and fair-working conditions. The health factor is not surprising, given that Pic’s motivation to create his own peanut butter came from eating a peanut butter that had too much sugar. The recipes seem to be written with this in mind. There’s definitely sugar in this book, but there’s also a variety of sweetening alternatives and sweet recipes that are completely sugar free. Pic’s uses Hi Oleic peanuts, peanuts with more ‘good fat’ than ‘bad fat’, which helps them stay fresher longer as well as making them better for you. In terms of sustainability, Pic’s has installed solar panels in its factory, which cover around 20% of their overall annual energy demand. Pic’s is a community-minded organisation that supports charity work and community initiatives. Just in case the taste of the peanut butter itself isn’t enough to convince you!
In short, this is a practical recipe book I fully see myself using on a regular basis. It’s full of creativity and the light-hearted joy of loving life and loving peanut butter. You’ll get a giggle out of the ‘Peanut Butter Hacks’ at the back of the book. I might just trying rubbing my hands with peanut butter after cutting garlic to see if it makes the smell go away. I’m not sure I’ll be replacing my regular hair conditioner with peanut butter though… maybe someone will be game to give it a try!
A favourite recipe? Hmmm… I immediately went for the ‘Almond Butter, Dark Choc, Sea Salt Slab’. What’s a girl to do when confronted with such a delectable treat? Reader, I ate it.
Reviewer: Susannah Lyon-Whaley