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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Trader Joe's Sunflower Seed Spread

September! Back to school time...or for Sandy and me, time to get our firstborn daughter, M, off to kindergarten. Time flies...seems like just yesterday I wrote this.

M impresses me. She does, for real. Like when we took her grocery shopping for lunch supplies for school. We got a big packet of info for the upcoming school year, discussing all the different school rules and policies. Understandably, there was some space spent on peanuts and nuts, etc. The school rule is, for lunch, things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are allowed to be brought in...but those who are allergic to peanut butter and can't be near it have to sit at a different table than everyone else. It's probably not a perfect solution, but it's what the school can do to keep everyone appeased.

Anyways, we kind of explained of this to M as best we could. Now this girl has no food allergies and loves peanut butter and jelly. Loves it enough to rival mac 'n cheese. So there we were, at Trader Joe's, near the PB shelf and presented M with a choice: Get peanut butter like she'd be allowed to get, and only sit with some certain kids...or try Trader Joe's Sunflower Seed Spread and be able to sit and make friends with anyone at lunch time.

She chose the sunflower seed spread.

Granted, it's not awful. But I'm a PB guy, through and through. This particular seed butter is medium-thick, oily, kinda goopy, decidedly salty, and unmistakenably made from sunflower seeds which I like, but not nearly as much as the earthy goodness of a good ol' peanut. If it seems similar to other TJ's products, you'd be mostly right. Big difference is lack of added sugar as this spread is composed of just seeds and salt. It's more functional than snackable, I guess.

M feels the same. Those eyerolls she tosses out right now when we ask what she considers a dumb question - man, those upcoming teenage years oughtta be a hoot. I got one for the ages when I asked her if she likes peanut butter or sunflower seed butter better. "Peanut butter" she muttered with as much implied "Duhhhh" in her tone as she could muster.

Still, M chooses it every time for her sandwich, simply because this little girl wants to be friends with everyone. She wants to be able to sit down and happily chomp away at her lunch with any set of kids and be able to talk about what happened on the playground or favorite colors or bugs or farts or whatever kids talk about at cafeteria tables. She's willing to meet other kids where they are, and sacrifice some of her preferences and entitlement to do so. She's willing to see that even though some other kids are different than her, they're not wrong or bad or to be avoided. They're all just some kindergartners wanting to enjoy lunch together.

Maybe I'm being particularly sappy and sentimental with her going off to school...but dammit, that's kinda beautiful to me. Maybe we'd all be better off if we could all see the world the way she does when choosing her lunch. I know I'd be. 

When I asked for her opinion of the seed spread, M just gave me a sideways thumb and a scrunchy faced grimace. I think that's actually a slight there's that. I feel strangely the same, actually. But I'm glad to slap some on bread with some blueberry jam for her any time she wants for lunch, so she can enjoy with anyone she wants.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Sunflower Seed Spread: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. My brother cannot have peanut butter (we still have it all the time in the house though) so we have purchased this many times. I absolutely love it--and I hate sunflower seeds--it definitely has a stronger flavor than peanut butter but the flavor pairs well with apples or jam...sometimes I even mix it with peanut butter...

  2. Your daughter sounds like a really awesome kid!! I love that she is ok with making some compromise to be able to be friends with everyone...:))
    The sunflower seed butter is definitely different from PB, i think you just need to use less of it than PB on a sandwich.
    I don't think TJs sells soy nut butter any more, but it's common at other stores and she might like that better

    1. Other nut free butters include sesame (tahini), pumpkin seeds butter, and even watermelon seed butter---which I have never tried.


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