They used peanut butter to escape, adding to the diversity of its uses

From fuel for man, beast and machine, the peanut has many uses. But you have to hand it to these Alabama prisoners for inventing this one.

A dozen inmates used peanut butter to escape an Alabama prison, adding one more item to peanut’s diverse portfolio of uses.

It happened in Jasper in the north-central part of the state. The incident grabbed national news headlines on cable TV shows, big-city papers and radio broadcasts. And you likely know about it.

For well-written, more-detailed reporting of how some wily inmates with a taste for freedom used a flavorsome food staple to grab some fresh air, as short as that breather was, check out the Jasper newspaper of record, The Daily Mountain Eagle.

But in a nutshell, this past Sunday the inmates used peanut butter to smudge in part the numbers above some prison doors, including a door that opened to the outside. The peanut butter color, it was reported, blended well with the color of the jail’s walls. An inexperienced guard at the helm of the jail’s closed-circuit surveillance and its doors’ open-and-shut buttons, upon prodding from an inmate in on the escape job, inadvertently gave the gang some freedom.

A dozen inmates bolted and got over the perimeter fence and away. They were all recaptured, with the last escorted ‘back home’ Monday. This novel episode of real life would make for a great movie scene, dramatic or comical, but it also spotlights a use for the peanut not even George Washington Carver could have dreamed up, even though he didn’t invent peanut butter as one of those uses. Peanut butter can be traced back to the days of the Aztecs, and a Canadian was awarded a patent in the late-1800s for its manufacturing.

From fuel for man, beast and machine, the peanut has many uses. But you have to hand it to these Alabama prisoners who engineered this creative use of this food staple, providing an elegantly-simple solution to a problem they faced, using the peanut as a means to move body and soul to more-appealing surroundings. They are certainly more creative than I on such things, but then again necessity breeds inventive, if not desperate, means. I know a well-timed spoon of peanut butter, at least briefly, can stop a baby or kid from crying, and I once caught a catfish using a piece of beef jerky slathered in peanut butter. (It was what we took on the trip to snack on, and we figured what the heck. Nothing else was working.)

At, they provide ‘21 Surprising Uses For Peanut Butter,’ which includes several we all know, but the site adds a few more-modern uses of peanut butter such as using it as a scratch remover for wood and CD/DVD and as a hair conditioner. As revealed by the inmates, we can now add ‘cell-door number changer’ to that modern list of the peanut’s uses.

 Good luck, take care and thanks for reading.

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