In a nutshell, our icons are Mom, apple pie and ... peanut butter?

The National Peanut Board has plenty of nutty statistics. For instance, “It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter... Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter... Peanut butter is the leading use of peanuts produced in the U.S.”

Now that your appetite has been whetted, take a look at “Creamy & Crunchy” by Jon Krampner (Columbia University Press, $28, 320 pages). It’s a fascinating history, loaded with anecdotes and tidbits, drama and humor — really.

To quote: “(These are) the stories of Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan; the plight of black peanut farmers; the resurgence of natural or old-fashioned peanut butter; the five ways that today's product is different from the original; the role of peanut butter in fighting Third World hunger; and the salmonella outbreaks of 2007 and 2009, which threatened peanut butter's sacred place in the American cupboard. To a surprising extent, the story of peanut butter is the story of 20th century America.”