Creating wonder is important, as awe and novelty are intrinsic to our lives and our mental wellbeing. This peanut butter taste test is a perfect example of a fun way to manufacture joy and wonder at home. (Because of the wild response I got for this peanut butter taste test on Instagram, I’ve shared all the details, below.)
To recreate the official G&L Peanut Butter Taste, you will need 5 or more different brands of natural peanut butter– the more variety the better! You will also need several small tasting cups, spoons for tasting and scooping, a pen, and a piece of paper. (We used compostable tasting cups and small wooden biodegradable sample spoons.)
Arranging a peanut butter taste test for yourself and others (or seriously, just yourself!) is a great way to create intrigue and novelty for novelty’s sake. It embodies the ethos of “making the ordinary amazing”– a capacity that every human being has, which is a critical aspect of how we learn to experience happiness everyday. There’s a famous Marilyn Monroe quote about how she ‘doesn’t want to make money; she just wants to be wonderful.’ And that’s a great parable for the kind of kinetic whimsicality this test represents.
Everyone can be wonderful. We all have it within us. The difficulty is merely in living meaningfully and with intention in the midst of a culture that often makes it hard to do.
And that’s why it’s so desirable! Choosing to live wonderfully in the digital age is an act of radical consciousness. Because despite all the advertising, social comparison, and fear mongering that living a digitally-connected life can expose us to, we can still choose to spin up our own magic. That’s the key. That’s our own inherent gift. This peanut butter taste test is a simple at-home way to practice the inquisitiveness we all are born with. There’s a frivolity to it, but it’s a good kind of frivolity. Plus, everyone who tries it has fun with it. (Assuming you like peanut butter, that is.)
(A related side note: I travel around the world to create thoughtful travel guides for Grace & Lightness Magazine, and often people I meet tell me that the way I travel is “aspirational”. I’m humbled and flattered by those remarks, but they are besides the point. Everyone can be in awe when they travel. It’s easy to be inspired by the novelty and unique character of a new place. Nothing I write about is unique in that regard. What is more important is to foster a mindset of looking for novelty, wonder, and awe in the everyday. Which brings us to this epic peanut butter taste test, below.)
Research shows that beautiful travel experiences are no more effective at inspiring happiness than the “everydays” spent at home doing an activity that you love. Or time spent with friends and family. In terms of impact on happiness, they are all the same. However, novelty, specifically, gives you a happiness boost that is essential for wellbeing. On a biological level, we feel our best when we are regularly exposed to new ideas and concepts.
Fortunately, novelty and awe can be manufactured at home by simply creating new, unique experiences. This could include trying out a new kind of exercise or learning a new skill, for example. Thus, we’ve created this template for a peanut butter taste test. It might seem a little formulaic, but it will help you create a unique, self-affirming experience at home.
Anytime I try something new or learn something new about myself and the world, I am in awe. This weirdly delightful experiment is no exception. (It’s so aesthetically pleasing that it gives me the same kind of contact high I’ve experienced when visiting any of the charming destinations featured in our Travel Well section. Check it out the next time you’re shopping for vacation ideas. You’ll see what I mean.)
G&L’s Official Peanut Butter Taste Test
To recreate the official G&L Peanut Butter Taste, get 5 or more different brands of peanut butter and scoop a tablespoon or so into a cups, each one numbered on the bottom. On a piece of paper, make a list of these numbers and label which peanut butter is in each cup. Then, flip over the paper and scramble the cups like you are doing a magic trick so that you forget which brand is which.
When you’re ready, conduct an official peanut butter taste test with friends, family, or just yourself. Notice the different colors and textures of the peanut butter. You will naturally have a preference for one of them. Which do you like best, and why?
This practice of mindfully noting what you like and why you like it is a metaphor for how you live your life. It’s all about finding moments to notice yourself. This is particularly important because self-discovery and self-awareness are vital aspects of well-being. Moreover, they are critical to its sustenance. If you don’t invoke these qualities regularly, they fade.
Be present. Stay in touch with what brings you joy. Having an opinion– and getting to know yourself better by regularly checking in with what you like and don’t like– is also part of the journey. If you can do this in a small practice like a peanut butter taste test, you can do it in more abstract ways in your life. (Plus, if you like peanut butter as much as I do, it’s a dream situation. It’s also a way to decide for yourself, once and for all, which is the best natural peanut butter brand.)
Another moral of this fun little exercise is this: It is important to look for opportunities around you, all the time, to drum up magic and beauty for yourself, however small or silly these activities may seem. You will be rewarded for the effort, I promise. What starts as a goofy peanut butter taste test soon becomes a lifestyle of sparking joy– both for yourself and others. Most people who see the pictures in this article can’t help but smile. (Aesthetically and otherwise, these are charming visuals.)
Moreover, everyone is capable of creating unique, fun moments for themselves. “Tests” like this are just a quirky way to jump start the process, filling even the most mundane days with newness and intrigue. It’s a form of adult play.
And for the record, it doesn’t matter if it’s peanut butter or chocolate bars or tomatoes. Create a test test that matches your preferences. You can make a game for yourself out of anything. And remember: it’s about how you approach the ordinary. The point is to make your own magic. Do it consistently. Share it with others. And be grateful for the experience. Every day presents new opportunities– and that’s a beautiful thing to contemplate as you savor each bite. 🥜🥄
Want more ways to foster self-awareness? Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey. This cool scientific questionnaire is eerily-accurate at identifying your strongest personality traits. Plus, you get to know yourself better in the process.