Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 2nd Is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Day

This week every food blogger, and their dog, are publishing recipes and wine pairings for Easter and Passover. In the past, I've done so here, here, and here. I've published the recipes, recommended the right wines, and even addressed the irony of serving ham to mark the resurrection of the King of the Jews. There's no need for me to rehash such topics this year.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
Subject: Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich | Date: 11/11/2010 | Photographer: Evan-Amos |This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Evan-Amos. This applies worldwide.

This week I'm going to talk about a lesser known observance, since April 2nd is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Day. Why Congress chose April 2nd to honor the childhood staple is a bit of a mystery. Nevertheless, the simple little sandwich has become as much a part of American childhood as bicycles, skateboards, and comic books.

While most of us have been aware of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches since being knee high to a grasshopper, the fact is the dish has only been around for 114 years. The first known mention of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich appeared in 1901, in the Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics, by Julia Davis Chandler:
"For variety, some day try making little sandwiches, or bread fingers, of three very thin layers of bread and two of filling, one of peanut paste, whatever brand you prefer, and currant or crab-apple jelly for the other."
Perhaps one reason for the popularity of the sandwich lies with the fact that, unlike cookies and cakes, the sandwich delivers a sweet taste while being considered to be relatively healthy.  A basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich consisting of two slices of white bread, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon of jelly delivers;
  • 5.9 grams of fiber (4 from the bread),
  • 380 calories, 
  • 13.45 grams of protein,
  • 19 grams of total fat, 
  • 3.72 grams of saturated fat, 
  • 8.86 grams of monounsaturated fat,
  • 5.33 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 
  • 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 
  • 45 grams of carbohydrates,
  • and 460 milligrams of sodium.
It's a bit high in sodium & fats, granted, but when compared to candy bars & donuts, it's a tasty carb & protein source to fuel an afternoon of cops & robbers.

Normally, I'd post a recipe at this point, but I'd wager that anyone reading this blog has this dish down cold.  In fact, the peanut butter & jelly sandwich is probably the first dish most of us learned to make as children.

That being said, I was at a sports bar, a few years ago, where I had a triple decker deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The bread was crunchy and slightly salty from having been fried, the peanut butter became melty and gooey, and the whole sandwich took on a richer tone.  I found a recipe for a one deck version here, which you could modify into the three deck version.  Of course, doing so pretty much negates any of the aforementioned health benefits of the classic version.

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