Monday, March 4, 2013

The Peanut Butter Sandwich: An American Tradition

Ever since reading about peanut butter and zucchini sandwiches in Deborah Wiles's adorable Love, Ruby Lavender (MG), I have been intrigued with peanut butter
sandwiches  in general. The peanut butter sandwich has been around for as long as I can remember. I ate them as a kid, my own kids ate them, and now my grandchildren do. And since March is National Peanut Month, I thought it would be fun to talk about this simple easy-to-make sandwich, because from what I can tell, it has long been an American tradition.

Believe it or not, peanut butter was once a delicacy in the United States. In the early 1900s, you could only find it in fancy New York City tearooms, where it was served on crackers with pimentos, nasturtium, cheese, celery or watercress. But as far back as 1896, Good Housekeeping magazine had suggested that women grind peanuts into a spread for bread. Later that year, another magazine, Table Talk, printed a recipe for a peanut butter sandwich. However, it was not until the late 1920s that peanut butter became affordable and, therefore, available to the general public. Peanut butter soon became a staple and quite popular with children. During WWII, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich was added to military rations. It had come a long way from the tearooms of New York.

Common peanut butter sandwiches in my kitchen:

Peanut butter and...
- jelly (or jam, preserves, marmalade)
- honey
- pickles
- bananas
- potato chips

Peanut butter and zucchini, on the other hand, opens up a way to add more vegetables to the diet. My husband volunteered for the experiment. Well, to be precise . . . he went along, since he prefers I do most of the cooking. Here is what we have tried so far:

- Peanut butter and sliced apples (with peelings). I added sliced almonds one day, and after being assured the 'crunchy part' was edible, he liked it.
- Peanut butter and cucumbers. He liked it.
- Peanut butter and left-over salad. Hmm....this was a bit of a stretch, but it too was good. The salad had leaf lettuce, kale, yellow pepper, broccoli and carrot slaw, dried cranberries and walnuts.

After that last one, I decided the possibilities were endless. Candidates for research include fresh:
- zucchini (have not tried yet; it grows here like weeds during the summer)
- parsley
- grated carrots
- mint
- spinach and other greens
- pineapple slices
- sliced strawberries
- blueberries
- other berries

And from the tearoom list above, I may try:
- pimento
- nasturtium
- cheese
- celery
- watercress

From online, here are some more to try:
- raisins
- bacon
- chocolate 
- maple syrup
- hazelnut-chocolate spread
- marshmallows

I am a really big fan of nuts, so I would add other nuts to any of these combinations.

Any other ideas out there? Are you a peanut butter "nut" too?

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
[History Source:].


  1. You know, I don't think I had a peanut butter sandwich until I was well into my teens. We always had vegemite sandwiches at my house.

  2. Interesting. Thanks for reading, Kellie. I had never heard of vegemite before, but found out online it's practically an Aussie legend!! It really does seem like the equivalent of peanut butter. I found a song, too. Here it is, just for you:) "We're happy little Vegemites As bright as bright can be. We all enjoy our Vegemite For breakfast, lunch, and tea. Our mummies say we're growing stronger Every single week, Because we love our Vegemite We all adore our Vegemite It puts a rose in every cheek."

  3. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are staples in my home. We also like peanut butter banana pretzel sandwiches. I haven't tried the others you have listed. They sound interesting. BTW, thanks for thinking of me for the Liebster Award!

  4. Pretzels, what a great idea, and they are low fat, too :) Thanks, Sherry!

    1. I have not had peanut butter for ages. I will have to try it with some of the above mentioned items.

  5. I also like peanut butter, and never realized that it was once considered a "delicacy."


  6. I once made a "toasted" peanut butter and banana sandwich. I mad a sandwich with two slices of bread, some peanut butter, and slices of bananas. Then I baked them in a toaster oven for less than 10 minutes. It was divine!

  7. Oh, my goodness...all of you. I love the baked option. Today I had peanut butter and bananas with vege chips.

  8. Oh how fun! Love P.B. and blueberries or any fruit!
    Had it for breakfast actually.
    ~Just Jill

  9. Thanks for stopping by, Jill. I'm with you. Breakfast or lunch, doesn't matter.

  10. I love peanut butter! My girls like peanut butter and banana roll-ups, which are way easier to make than traditional peanut butter and banana sandwiches, where you have to slice the bananas or mash them. Think "hot dog," and you've got it: Slather some peanut butter on a piece of bread, lay a peeled banana in the middle, and let the kids fold the sides in so they can eat it like a hot dog.

  11. For me, the toughest part about spending a couple of years in France was the inability to find the kind of peanut butter I love. Nutella was not a great substitute. One of my favorite treats now is crunchy peanut butter on apple slices. Yum!

  12. Oh, I agree. I missed it living in Malaysia, too. I love the pure kind with nothing added but a little salt. Thanks for the follow, Patricia! cute...a banana-PB hot dog? Leave it to kids to figure that one out!


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