The Trenchermen

We eat other people’s food.

The Peanut Butter & Jelly

with 2 comments

While most of the posts on this blog are about fancy food, either exotic in its own right or eaten in a faraway place, this one is about the simplest of foods: the PB&J.  There are few foods that so consistently fill me with joy.  (Watermelon with salt on a hot summer day; pomegranate seeds; fried pork dumplings.)

But with all the recent focus on elaborate or unexpected sandwiches on the NYMag list, I thought I’d take a minute to meditate on this wondrous creation.  The oily, creamy — or crunchy, if you prefer — sweetness of peanut butter (with no sugar added, of course) and the sugar rush of berry jelly on soft doughy bread.  I can’t believe I will ever grow tired of it.  Of course, I’m not alone in my love of this sandwich.  According to Wikipedia, “A 2002 survey showed the average American will have eaten 1,500 of these sandwiches before graduating from high school.”  Awesome.

I eat PB&J 2-3 times a week now.  Sometimes with coffee, which, as Jay has pointed out, heightens the experience.  I’m not a stickler for the proper ratio of PB to J, nor do I get caught up in the variations of J available out there.  My only rule is that the PB should have 2 or fewer ingredients.  That is just plain peanuts, maybe with a little salt.  But no sugar.  No JIF or SKIPPY or PETER PAN for me.  Nothing with partially hydrogenated oils to keep the oil from separating.

The basic building blocks:  2 pieces of bread.  I prefer whole grain wheat bread, deviating from the traditional white bread variety.  I think you can do this on any kind of bread, though rye would be weird.

Here are the ingredients du jour.  “Bonne Maman” strawberry preserves are smooth and spreadable and delicious, with big chunks of fruit and not too much pectin.  Smucker’s “Natural” creamy peanut butter.  I suppose the word “Natural” means no sugar or preservatives added.  Just peanuts and salt.

This is where the magic happens.

This is my PB&J looking out at Manhattan, with the Empire State Building in central view, and clouds rolling past.  Happy sandwich!

And there are the goods.

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Written by trencherman

July 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Cooking

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. […] a comment » As I mentioned in my recent post on PB&J, one of the food categories that thrills me endlessly is the dumpling.  I will eat just about […]

  2. […] Google Map of the 101 sandwich locations.)  With that in mind, in search of an interruption in my PBJ lunch routine, I took my office-mate into the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown, under the Manhattan Bridge, […]


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