sunflowerseedbutter.jpgMy daughter Iris's preschool is, like so many these days, a nut-free zone. Often Iris will come home and, after a morning of nut deprivation, eat a big bowl of toasted pecans.

Before she started preschool, her standard lunch was the same as every other non-nut-allergic kid's: peanut butter and jelly. I did my best to choose a good quality jam and bread (the Innkeeper's brand multigrain bread from Costco is delicious), but it was your basic PB&J. This wouldn't fly under preschool rules. So I've fumbled with various leftovers and other sandwiches, and fallen back on deli ham more often than I'd like to admit. (I've tasted "soynut butter," recommended in the preschool handbook, and could not in good conscience serve it to anybody with taste buds.)

Sesame and sunflower seeds aren't on the school's list of controlled substances, though, so I was delighted to learn that Trader Joe's sells sunflower seed butter. And it's really good: as smooth as Jif and sweet but not too sweet. The only drawback is that it's an unemulsified "natural" butter that has to be stirred before spreading. It's great with Bonne Maman strawberry jam. Iris took such a sandwich to school yesterday and came home with an empty lunch box.

If you don't have a Trader Joe's in the neighborhood, Sunbutter offers sells full line of sunflower seed butters online.

Now, I wonder if I could make a good sandwich involving sesame paste or other legal spreadables. Preschoolers like duck rillettes, right?

About the author: Matthew Amster-Burton lives in Seattle. His work appears frequently in the Seattle Times and Seattle magazine. He also maintains the blog Roots and Grubs. His favorite food is pad Thai.

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