Good morning and welcome to the latest in our series of holidays where the Guide celebrates all things food. From Cheese Soufflé to Banana Splits, the guide prides itself on bringing to you the latest in food fashion. (Although whether those words actually belong together in the same sentence is up for debate.) And as we are heading into the fall, food becomes such a huge part of our traditions. Of course, the harvest probably has a great deal to do with why food and the fall are so closely associated. So we here at the Guide have decided that we have to catch up on something that will be celebrated not just one day, but the entire month. And hopefully, it’s something that everyone is sweet on. Because for the month of September, we will be celebrating all things honey, as it’s national honey month.
I think we couldn’t pass up this holiday with all of the news coming out about the importance of the bee population and questions as to why it may be dwindling. It’s not like 9000 years ago when we celebrated the destruction of a bee hive to get honey. And so we would be destroying all sorts of bees in the process and scattering them to the four winds. In this case, the bees seem to be disappearing. With the increased amount of Colony Collapse Disorder, it is important to talk about the importance of bees to farming and our way of life. So I encourage you to look up things about bees, and not just for the sake of our honey supply.
As for my experiences with honey, the thing I remember the most from my youth was making the peanut butter balls with my mother when I was a kid. I couldn’t cook much in the kitchen yet, but I knew from an early age that I loved to make good tasting food. This led me to some interesting experiments in food I have to admit. (Ah Peanut Butter Pickle Milk and French toast made with Vinegar . . . those were the days!) So when I could make things in the kitchen, I could only make no bake items like sandwiches. The extent to my actually cooking food occurred in and around the toaster.
So when my mother mentioned making peanut butter balls as a child, I looked clueless. It was peanut butter, honey, rolled oats, vanilla, and chocolate or butterscotch chips as desired. All of those individual ingredients sounded good, but I was curious as to how they would turn out altogether. Of course the great thing about that recipe and being a kid meant that I was going to get to play with food with my hands. Who could resist playing with your food when you were a child?
Taking a big dollop of peanut butter and then adding honey was the easy part, although you didn’t want to touch it quite yet. Then came the oats and various chips and it seemed to solidify in one mass. You would then pick a part out and roll it around in your hands. It would come together in one big, round clump. I kept doing this until all the peanut butter vanished.
Afterward, I remember staring at the big pile of peanut butter balls as they were going to be put in the refrigerator to cool down. Curiosity overtook me as I imagined what the balls would taste like in my mouth. I went in and snuck one out before it cooled and tried to stuff it all in my mouth. At first, there was that moment of embarrassment at how ridiculous I looked when my mom caught me stuffing it all the way in. And then there was the sensation of peanut butter and honey running down my tongue, mixed with a little chocolate. All embarrassment turned to pleasure as I slowly swallowed it and tried to explain things to my mother. She just laughed.
I can remember those peanut butter balls to this day. So I remember vividly when I shared with my daughter the delicious combination of peanut butter and honey with oats and chocolate. She was very suspicious of the results, but when she actually took a bite she squealed with pleasure. It’s such an easy recipe.
Honey makes everything amazing. Not only did it transform plain peanut butter. But it can transform a variety of dishes, meats, and teas. Imagine a lemon honey glaze over a chicken or turkey. Who doesn’t remember the amazing feeling of tea with lemon and honey when having a sore throat and how delicious and soothing that was? There is just not enough that one can say about honey.
So with that in mind, the Guide felt like it was important to delve into its deep pocketbooks and spare no expense to find out the real history of honey. (I swear those aren’t moths coming out of my wallet. Just dust.) And we delved into the treacherous world of the deep web, as well as getting use out of our Wayback machine to time travel and go to the darkest regions of Spain to find out about the origins of this delicious and natural condiment. So here’s looking at you, honey. And without further ado, the guide presents the secret fake history of honey.
The Fake History of Honey
Down in the deepest regions of dark Spain, somewhere near where Valencia stands today, and before medieval times were even medieval, there were cave men and women saying, “ugh,” and drawing cave paintings on walls. Back then they ran in packs and whoever had the largest and strongest pack was inevitably the survivor. One such pack of men and women called themselves the “Cave Beasts”. They would try to intimidate every other cave pack through fear and intimidation.
They had eliminated every other cave pack around except for one pesky crew called the “Georges”. (Not to confused anyone with the George Foreman clan.) They were almost eliminated many times were it not for the ingenuity of a woman called Honey. (This occurred before last names so they called her just Honey.) She could see that she wasn’t going to win through brute strength so she had to use her mind to get what she wanted.
She knew she just needed something to attract larger numbers to her clan and she could overwhelm the Cave Beasts with numbers. So she thought and thought, until she formulated a plan. There was a nectar that was considered more valuable than anything else in the world but they were always surrounded by these crazy flying insects with stingers at the end of them. These insects were cunning and brave. They were the earliest version of the Japanese suicide bombers in that they would protect their home at all cost. Honey knew that getting the nectar would be difficult, but noticed when a fire was started, it seemed to confuse the bees. So she lit a fire by these insect homes and watched the insects scatter while she could go in and get the nectar.
She was so excited for her clan that she immediately took this nectar to other cave people and tried to convince them to come to her clan. But no one would listen because they were afraid of what the leader of the Cave Beasts would do to them, a beast named Herman. Honey knew she would have to do something to get Herman out of the way. And she knew Herman to be a bit dimwitted. So she came out and challenged Herman to bring back the biggest and best nectar in three days’ time and whoever won would rule both clans. She knew trouble would ensue if he wanted to fight for rule instead, so she attacked his pride.
“So are you saying you can be bested by a woman when it comes to such a simple thing as nectar gathering? How can you be so strong if you can’t get past these petty insignificant bugs?” Honey asked.
Herman, not wanting to look foolish in front of everyone said, “I will beat your stupid insig ficant buh, buh, bees.”
Honey didn’t bother to correct Herman because she knew it wouldn’t help her cause so she replied, “Yes Herman, if you can get past the bees and bring back better nectar than I can, you will win. But if I win. You must leave.”
“No woman can beat Herman,” the Neanderthal shouted back.
What Honey knew about Herman is that he wasn’t going to leave anything to chance. Herman couldn’t track down the bees on his own after two days. Honey, knowing this, let anyone she could find know she and her clan had a meeting tonight to find the bees. She made cave paintings on the walls to show her plan to all of her followers. But she left out one crucial step. She didn’t paint the symbol for smoke. Knowing all the while that Herman’s spies would come in after and see the painting she wanted to trap them into trying to take on the bees head on.
It was a marvelous trick that she pulled on Herman. He was stung so badly and so often that he was never heard from again. Some say the gods gave him an Achilles heel with bees because he was too strong and too powerful and he needed to be brought down because of his hubris. Others know that it was really Honey and her ingenious plan with the bees to get back and Herman and draw others to her tribe.
So when Honey showed up at the end of the third day no one could find Herman. Everyone bowed to Honey as if she were some sort of god for bringing the nectar to the clans. Afterward, they declared that the nectar honey in honor of her. She laughed because she knew that she had just outwitted Herman the dolt. But she didn’t have the heart to have them change the name of the nectar. And so they called it honey, which they continue to do so to this day.
Obviously, the use of honey spread throughout the known world. The Bible referred to Israel as the land of milk and honey. John the Baptist ate locust and wild honey. Hannibal gave his army honey to keep them alive across the Alps. The Romans used honey in battle to help heal wounds. And kings and queens have used them as aids to ferment wines with. With all of these amazing uses and food combinations, It seems clear to me that honey is the most amazing natural sugar in the world.
My Favorite Honey Recipe
As you have seen previously, Honey is so incredibly versatile that there are a million things you can do with Honey. But as I am partial to eating honey in one way or another, I wasn’t going to give you a recipe for some kind of ointment or treatment. Although anyone who has an amazing honey recipe, please feel free to add or post your link in the comments section. I love getting any kind of cool recipe when it comes to the food we celebrate.
So as I have made a big fuss over the peanut butter balls that I made when I was a kid, I figured I would give you the most kid friendly recipe for honey that I know, and share with you the peanut ball secret that my family has been hoarding for generations. OK, maybe only for the last 60 years. And I am not sure hoarding is the right word as my grandmother would share any recipe with anyone. Ah well.
The Top Secret Peanut Butter Ball Recipe
(Brought to you under severe duress.)
2/3 cup of your favorite peanut butter (creamy or chunky does not matter)
2 tablespoons of honey
½ cup powdered milk
2 packages of your favorite Quaker Oats flavored Oatmeal
¼ cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup of butterscotch chips
- Combine all 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Stir to combine.
- Place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes so they are easier to roll.
- Roll into 12 bites and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Continue The Conversation –
I know that this was probably the easiest recipe I have ever put there. But the cool thing is that it is so easy to make. And your kids will love making it with you. And being that I am a single dad, I love to be able to involve my daughter in as many ways as possible. Your kids will thank you and you will have a great time. What did you think of the history of honey? And what is your favorite recipe that uses honey? I would love to know as always.
If you loved this post, please follow me here at the blog. Subscribers get exclusive content and regular notifications on the latest of goings on here at the Guide. And don’t forget to check out some of our other food holiday posts. Remember to start celebrating National Honey Month September 1st. Thank you for stopping by once again.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life