Friday, June 12, is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, and the Isle of Wight County Museum is open late to celebrate! Decompress from the work week, and start your weekend off right with a little history and a sweet peanutty treat from 4 to 8 p.m. The event is free, but donations are appreciated.
While there’s no information on the creation or the creator of National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, certainly Alabama’s American agricultural extension educator, George Washington Carver, was the most well-known promoter of the peanut. Carver compiled 105 peanut recipes from various cookbooks, agricultural bulletins and other different sources. In 1916, he put together a Research Bulletin called “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption.“ Included in this bulletin were three recipes for peanut cookies with either crushed or chopped peanuts. In the early 1920s peanut butter was found listed as an ingredient in the cookies.
Peanuts are an important part of Smithfield’s history because before ham, the peanut was king.
P.D. Gwaltney Sr. established the first peanut-cleaning factory in Smithfield in 1880, and until 1921 when a fire destroyed Gwaltney-Bunkley Factory No. 1, paddle-wheeled steamships took peanuts from Smithfield to as far away as Amsterdam and Africa. At the turn of the century, Gwaltney said that the Gwaltney-Bunkley Peanut Company is “very much the largest peanut concern in the world.” Gwaltney-Bunkley sold out to Suffolk-based American Peanut Company soon after Gwaltney’s death in 1915.
Suggested donation for admission is $2 for adults.
For more information, contact the Isle of Wight County Museum at (757) 356-1223 or visit www.historicisleofwight.com.