Beyond Jelly: Reinventing the Peanut Butter Sandwichby William I. Lengeman III
Man cannot live by bread alone. He must have peanut butter. (Bill Cosby)
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet? Buzz off. Peanut butter is the truly American foodstuff, so much so that the average American kid supposedly consumes a 125 foot high stack of these sandwiches by the time they graduate high school.
Peanut butter and bread make for rather dry eating, presenting hazards that were underscored in a 1981 letter to the New York Times by choking expert, Dr. Henry J. Heimlich. He warned about peanut butter and noted that his Heimlich maneuver, devised to save choking diners, "has expelled peanut-buttered bread from the throats of choking victims and saved their lives."
So yeah, peanut butter sandwiches go down more smoothly when there's a third ingredient in the mix. That ingredient is most often jelly, of course, but it doesn't have to be. The range of foodstuffs used to liven up peanut butter and bread boggles the mind -and sometimes churns the stomach - but there is definitely life beyond jelly.
Peanut Butter & Banana
Elvis Presley's Memphis, once located on Beale Street, offered Elvis's favorite sandwich. That restaurant is defunct, but the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina, has stepped in to fill the culinary void. They offer a Grilled PB&B, described as "an Elvis born favorite on Texas toast with peanut butter, banana, and Tupelo honey."
Spread one piece of bread with Fluff.
Then spread another with peanut butter.
There you have it: a Fluffernutter!
The Fluffernutter can't compete with the PB&J, but it has its adherents nonetheless. Greenwich Village-based sandwich shop, Peanut Butter & Co., makes it with "freshly ground peanut butter on one side and gobs of Marshmallow Fluff spread on the other," and describes it as "heaven."
Peanut Butter & Raisin
Of course, the best-known peanut butter and raisin combo has nothing to do with sandwiches. Ants On A Log - that perennial children's favorite - features peanut butter filled celery topped with raisins.
Peanut butter and raisin fanciers passing through Portland, Oregon might visit Peanut Butter & Ellies for a Gooey G.O.R.P. - a grilled delight stuck together with organic peanut butter, raisins and chocolate chips.
Peanut Butter & Honey
Peanut Butter & Mayonnaise
In the anti-PC White Trash Cooking, Ernest Matthew Mickler includes a recipe for an Anti-Stick Peanut Butter Sandwich, that consists of a slice of bread buttered with peanut butter and one buttered "generously" with mayonnaise.
Peanut Butter & Potato Chips
Nowadays, connoisseurs of strange peanut buttered delights can head to Chicago's BIN 36 for a Peanut Butter, Banana and Almost-36-Potato Chips Sandwich. Minnesotans might sally forth to P.B. Loco for The Wacko, a concoction fashioned with Curry Spice Peanut Butter and jazzed up with pickles, coconut & potato chips. Diners with less adventurous palates should settle for the slightly less loco PB Chip, which combines peanut butter and you guessed it.
Peanut Butter & Bacon
Peanut Butter, Baloney, Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce, Mayonnaise & Catsup
Peanut Butter and Sugar Sandwiches
Now we're scraping the bottom of the barrel. But Google it and you'll find a few flaky types who are passionate about this combo's questionable charms. In 2002, seven-year old Emily McComas won a contest to devise the official Got Milk? peanut butter sandwich. Her Chip Chompin' Cherry Nutter combined peanut butter, dried cherries, crispy rice cereal, mini chocolate chips and powdered sugar on whole wheat bread.
Fool's Gold Loaf (Peanut Butter, Blueberry Jelly & Bacon)
This extravagant, artery-blocking sandwich consisted of an entire loaf of bread, hollowed out, spread thickly with peanut butter and blueberry jelly and filled with a pound of crisp fried bacon. The party's "King-sized" order consisted of twenty-two Fool's Gold Loaves, a case of champagne, and a case of Perrier for Elvis and other non-tipplers. The impressive carry-out order was delivered to the party - and consumed - at the airport. The tab for the expedition? About sixteen thousand dollars.
|William I. Lengeman III mail orders ten pounds of peanut butter at a time. He maintains Tea Guy Speaks, a Web site devoted to the appreciation of tea.|
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