No stranger to inane small talk, I inflicted myself upon an unsuspecting out-of-towner at last weekend's Southern Festival of Books. Within seconds I was barraging the charming, handsome stranger with the sublimely ridiculous adventures of a local food writer. Launching into the topic of taste-testing, I cataloged a few of the most recent freebies that made their way into the Scene offices—sweet tea-flavored vodka, for example, and steak sauce from a company that boasts, “Christ Is Our CEO.”
When I rambled to the topic of Naturally More, a flaxseed-fortified peanut butter product that arrived in the mail recently, I hit a happy nerve with my new friend, who rather impressively managed to get a word in edgewise to say that, back home in Colorado, he and his partner add a lot of flaxseed to their food.
Had it been, say, Mr. Pink or Fluffernutter or Jack who was flaxenating everything, I'd have thought, “Hmm, OK. That's a little nutty.” But this delightful conversationalist turned out to be none other than best-selling author David Wroblewski, the former computer programmer whose debut novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, is the darling of critics and the most recent Oprah's Book Club pick. Needless to say, my reaction was more along the lines of, “I'll have what he's having.”
Who knows whether flaxseed is responsible for the kind of haunting creativity that dreams up a Hamlet-scented tale about the deaf son of dog breeders. But I can say that Naturally More's blend of pureed peanuts and flaxseed oil has a silky texture—thinner than standard-issue Skippy-Jif-Peter Pan—that works well in everything from sandwiches to Asian noodles. And the addition of whole flax seeds adds an intriguing grittiness—like tiny grains of vanishing sand—that makes Naturally More a delicate and versatile alternative to crunchy peanut butter.
I haven't read Edgar Sawtelle yet, but everyone from Oprah to Stephen King loves it. As for Naturally More, I highly recommend the stuff. And David Wroblewski? Whoa. Be still, my beating heart.