For all intents and purposes, it was a really cool and exciting place to grow up — I fed kangaroos, nervously posed next to koalas at the zoo and snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef with Nemo and Dory.
Yet with all of these fun adventures, there was a huge downside. No peanut butter.
Peanut butter is not an Australian ~thing~.
My mom informed me that Australia has a very strict nut policy, and therefore she wasn't allowed to send it with me to school.
I distinctly remember not eating peanut butter from the ages of 3 to 7, when we returned to the United States and nuts weren’t as big of an issue.
It was due to the strong censorship of nut products that we were unable to have relatives and friends mail us Jif, as the customs officials would not have let it enter the country.
I also distinctly remember this because my dad was insistent we have Pop-Tarts mailed to us because those also are not found in Australian grocers.
Instead, I had to eat Vegemite, which is a very special spread that makes you feel like you’ve just swallowed a large amount of salt.
It is quintessentially Australian, and it’s one of those things that you either love a lot or hate a lot. There's little in between when it comes to Vegemite.
My mom has also since informed me that during this time, I ate a lot of Nutella, as it seems to be a peanut butter alternative.
I do enjoy Nutella with croissants and Teddy Grahams, but not sandwiches — although the hazelnut spread Uncrustables with peanut butter are particularly delightful.
It’s not that Australia didn’t/doesn’t have peanut butter. They do.
It tends to be the more organic or non-Jif brands that I tend to avoid on account of it being crunchy rather than smooth, and because I’m a brand snob.
When we moved back to the States four years later, peanut butter became a staple of my diet once again.
I was allowed to bring peanut butter sandwiches to school, where they made the kids with peanut allergies sit at their own table (which is sad).
It was during this time that I found out about that peanut butter song with the singing banana. I’m not a huge fan of it.
Peanut butter still remains a large part of my diet today. I have some form of peanut butter every morning for breakfast, and have mini packets of it in my room so that I can spread it on whatever crackers I want.
So, here's to you, peanut butter. I will celebrate your day of honor by eating you.