The Height Of Gastronomy, Right Here



Allow me to revert back to my childhood for just one tiny ‘lil minute.

Or just allow me to revert back to any day this week, actually.

Ah, the beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One of my most favorite things on God’s green earth. Ok, on God’s green and brown, getting-too-warm-thanks-to-us earth.

It happens to be the first recipe I properly mastered – age 4, thankyouverymuch. And I suspect it was probably the first thing many American kids learned to make as well, much to the chagrin of nutritionists and pediatricians all over the United States.

The National Peanut Board says that an average American consumes 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they graduate from high school.  I think they probably meant to say “Matt Armendariz, 6th grade.”

Excluding my friends with peanut allergies, a PB&J really has to be one of the most sandwiches around. I never realized this until reading facts and figures from companies like Smucker’s and the Peanut Board, but this sandwich is the perfect example of sweet and salty, one of my favorite flavor combinations–if not my absolute favorite. It can be enjoyed standing in the kitchen, dressed up with carrot or celery sticks, adorned with toasted bread, made exotic with seasonal preserves or other nut butters, but it’s always satisfying, simple and delicious. And c’mon, there are times when you don’t really want to think about what to eat, especially when you’ve been around food all day long, and that’s when this sandwich comes to the rescue.

So now I ask you: My European friends always ask me to send them jars of peanut butter. Is it an American thang? Are we the only ones who dig it?

And do you enjoy PB&Js? Is the nut butter / jam / preserve ratio important to you? A little or a lot?

Note: I won’t insult your intelligence by including a recipe. Duh.


  1. says

    I loved this post, Matt! And while I do enjoy PB&Js, being of an Italian background, PB&Nutella sandwiches are where it’s at!


  2. says

    As I’m Italian I’ve never enjoyed such a joy from heaven: I had Nutella or simply butter and sugar sandwiches… Although the peanut butter and nutella by Ivonne sounds promising… In Italy I can find only Calvè Peanut butter and I do not think is the best…

  3. says

    mmmmm. i don’t wanna be anyplace where i can’t get a good pb&j sammie… and my most favorite is pb & strawberry jam. MOST FAVORITE. the ratio of pb to jam has to be nearly 2:1 – so much peanut butter you can’t speak for about 20 minutes after you’ve eaten it. on WHITE bread. with cold milk. 2%. okay, whole. but that’s all the secrets i’m tellin’.

  4. says

    Oh yes … JIF creamy PB and either blackberry or strawberry preserves. In the aforementioned 2:1 ratio. But on wheat bread.

    Also, yes, from me and my friends experiences studying in Europe, there is no good PB there. It’s Nutella all the way.

  5. says

    I don’t know, I never got into pb and j’s but just a plain pb sandwich …yum! OR pb with cheese heated up in one of those sandwich maker things is a gooey heaven for me

  6. says

    On days when I work at home, PB&J is my most common lunch. However, I don’t love either strawberry or grape jellies/jams, so I always have something a little different — apricot usually, tho lately we’ve been slowly ticking through our countless jars of pear butter or fig preserves. And extra-crunchy peanut butter only, please!

  7. says

    Ah, I love my PB&J. I like blackberry jam the best, and I like it at a 1:1 ratio on very soft bread. Oatmeal bread is really great.

    I also LOVE peanut butter sandwiches with sliced bananas and honey, or just PB&Honey is great too.

    PB&Nutella is extremely decadent and delicious.

    When I was in college, I ate PB&J a lot because of $. But I branched out into the “expensive” nut butters too! Almond butter & blackberry jam is a combo not to be missed!

    I like my PB smooth, NOT chunky (ew) and I like my jams without a lot of sugar – homestyle jams.

    I also like PB & Marmalade, but not as much as with bananas & honey.

  8. says

    I like a big slap of plain white bread toasted with smooth Skippy lathered on top while it’s still hot. No top piece of bread. Just open face. Heaven.

    ‘Twas my breakfast this morning, actually. Funny I read this today.

  9. says

    i DO love pb&j…lots of peanut butter and with raspberry jam. has to be jam though, not a fan of jelly, especially the grape. i do want to try making that supposed favorite of elvis’ some day, the peanut butter and banana…dipped in batter and fried! ugh and yum at the same time!

  10. says

    Um…will you think little of me if I tell you I would like to rub peanut butter and jelly all over myself right now.

    (I’m on a diet and it’s killing me) Really. Killing me.

    Oh how I LOVE the peanut butter and jelly sangwich!!

    No crunchy peanut butter though…that’s reserved for peanut butter and banana sangwiches (with honey).


  11. says

    I am going to join the PB&J bandwagon of this thread, cuz I do loove the stuff. I sometimes cheat and use Goober! ha!

    Ever tried PB on banana? Yum!

  12. says

    As a child, there were only two things I would eat: pb&j’s and Cheerios.

    However, you didn’t address the issue of the cut. In half or on the diagonal? I’m a diagonal girl myself. Cutting in half is just proprotionally incorrect. Just ask my grandma, who mistakenly fixed one the wrong way for my 7-year old self. There were some tears that day…

    I still probably have a pb&j twice a month, toasted.

  13. says

    As a child, there were only two things I would eat: pb&j’s and Cheerios.

    However, you didn’t address the issue of the cut. In half or on the diagonal? I’m a diagonal girl myself. Cutting in half is just proprotionally incorrect. Just ask my grandma, who mistakenly fixed one the wrong way for my 7-year old self. There were some tears that day…

    I still probably have a pb&j twice a month, toasted.

  14. says

    I’m actually not a fan of the PB&J (I dislike jelly/jam/etc.) but I adore PB + honey + banana on toasted wheat. That is the love, right there.

  15. pouke says

    Hi Matt, I have been enjoying your blog to no ends.informative but with a dose of it.Well, I won’t be the only one to miss you but do tell about ALL you argentinian experiences ! As for me, my confort food is bread and chocolate….in a pate feuillettee….So ,have great trip!!
    By the way,check out my new blog,tell me what you think.experiment it is….
    take care

  16. Jeremy says

    Yeah, Matt! The PB&J Sandwich is an American icon. Since adulthood, I’ve enjoyed using Adams Natural Peanut Butter. And for many years I’ve eaten it open-faced on toast. Thanks for such an interesting article!

  17. says

    Something I have said out loud before is: “I am never letting a man make me a peanut butter sandwich again.” Both times that someone of the male persuasion has made me a P&B sandwich, there has been way too much peanut butter. I know some people might say that that’s impossible, but there was an inch of peanut butter on those sandwiches! I would rather have an equal ratio of PB to fruit, more fruit if anything.

  18. says

    hey matt,
    love your site.
    here in australia we’re also into peanut butter and while some go for the PB&J, I swear by peanut butter & honey. Good on it’s own or with a sprinkle of dukkah if you’re in a more complex mood

  19. says

    I see that you are posting away before your trip, that is a good thing :) my favorite sandwich as a kid was a butter and peach jelly sandwich.BTW when are you guys coming back from your trip ? I need to send you something and I would hate for it to go to waste ( hint: it has a direct relation to this post)

  20. says

    The perfect peanut butter & jelly sandwich goes something like this:

    Slather one slice of bread with a thick layer of peanut butter.

    Layer on some raspberry jam (preferably that really good seedless stuff).

    Take the second slice and put a very thin layer of peanut butter on it to “seal it” from the soppy jam.

    Put together.


  21. B. says

    For me, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was always a vehicle for consuming grape jelly without actually scooping it out of the jar and into my mouth. So you used whole wheat bread and just enough peanut butter (chunky or smooth, I didn’t care, as long as it was more salty than sweet) to bind it together. And several tablespoons of grape (and only grape! none of that strawberry stuff my brother ate) jelly. The great thing about sturdy bread is how much jelly it can soak up, so you could really pile it on.

  22. says

    I love peanut butter and eat it on a regular basis! Here in Switzerland, we find it everywhere (peanut butter made in the US).
    I prefer my sandwiches with honey or Nutella, it’s so “evil” and better than Snicker bars!!!…

  23. says

    The thought of it on bread freaks me out, but I love peanut butter and jam toast – I am very generous with both of these, and can hardly burn off the calories in the remainder of my day.

  24. says

    Mmmmmm, I loooove peanut butter & I grew up in South Africa – the brand to get down there is Black Cat! And I will eat it straight out of the jar if I think nobody’s watching…

    In our family we never had peanut butter with jam/jelly – we always had peanut butter and golden syrup (corn syrup in the US, I believe) on toast. These days when I feel I need cheering up in the morning I have peanut butter and honey on wholewheat toast. Bliss bliss bliss.

  25. Lauren says

    PB with fresh raspberries – not jam – on soft bread. Mmmm. I mean, I’ll eat the jam. I won’t even complain. But a whole layer of tightly packed raspberries, squished between two pieces of spongy bread, is the height of PB pleasure.

    I don’t know how I would have gotten through childhood today in the era of peanut allergies. I ate the PBJ exclusively for about three years when I started school. What are moms of picky kids supposed to do now?

  26. says

    PB&J lover over here in the Philippine islands! The jam I love using for my PB&Js is guava jam. Though I’m more of a sweet and creamy PB person than a salty and crunchy one. :)

  27. Christine says

    Mmm.. nothing beats a classic PB&J on wonder bread – hard to decide between strawberry or grape for me. If your feeling extra crazy, throw some lays potato chips in between the slices to add an extra salty crunch… takes it to a whole new level!

  28. says

    Hey Matt,
    Love your biting wit and down to earth view of food.

    I’m with Jeanne on this one (must be my SA parents) The best PB&__ sandwich is with Golden Syrup – which is thicker than Corn Syrup and made from cane, not corn… My fav way was to trickle the syrup onto the bread and let it settle into the nooks & crannies. Then the PB and then wait a few minutes. For some reason, the syrup then crystallizes and becomes a bit crunchy. Too devine!

  29. Wendy says

    I’m an Australian female married to an American male who regularly eats PB & J on toast, at the same time as eating eggs & bacon! The thought of peanut butter (which I am addicted to) and jam (also love) on the same piece of bread does not do it for me . However I do know that my Vegemite is quite safe from him.

  30. says

    I love telling this story. It’s my sister’s fault. My first PB&J was at the age of about 12. I decided one day I’d had enough of hearing about this sandwich in books (Babysitter’s Club, whatever I was reading as a pre-pubescent girl) and what the hell is so great about it. I made one (white bread, grape jelly, some smooth peanut butter) and liked it, so I made another one and ate it. Then another one, whereupon I promptly threw up. I no longer eat PB&J unless the mood really strikes, but suffice it to say, that was a pretty… um… interesting experience.

    As for why it’s my sister’s fault- it’s her fault that I didn’t have one before that; she is close to 8 years older and my mother had dutifully fed her these for many years until one day my bratty sister said NO. I don’t WANT PB&J anymore, I DON’T WANT IT so my mother stopped feeding her those and started giving her cold cuts or something. Which is what I ate for the majority of my sandwich eating school days (it was that or leftovers, which were great because I loved Mom’s cooking). Weird, isn’t it?

    PS I don’t blame Mom- it must be annoying to provide sandwiches/lunches for 3 kids who are so far apart in age

  31. says

    PB & J was the only thing I wanted to eat as a child. (in addition to Alpha-bits, Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms cereals)
    It has to be crunchy peanut butter and raspberry jam with seeds.

  32. says

    Yes…. only recently. I am a foody… LOVE good food, but when I got prego my taste buds left me. Now, I literally eat Peanut butter and something, Jelly, sliced banannas, celery, peanut butter and anything! I cant get enough of the stuff!



  33. Lynn D. says

    Here’s my favorite sandwich: your favorite bread lightly toasted then both slices spread with Adams crunchy peanut butter (the kind you have to stir up yourself/no sugar) and then sprinkled with Spanish smoked paprika, then a sweet sliced tomato and some crunchy lettuce topped with the second slice of bread. It’s a PBLT and it’s divine. Serve with cold red wine and coke.

  34. Robert says

    Another US commenter here: PB&J and PB&H were and are my sandwiches of choice for non-meat sandwiches. Peanut butter choice changed from Skippy to Adam’s over the last year and a half – actually tried eating some Skippy recently and thought it very literally sickeningly sweet. Jam is usually Smuckers Seedless Blackberry, though Walls Berry Farms’ Marionberry comes in about the same price and double the size – good for a college student. I don’t have a specific amount of peanut butter, but it needs to cover one side of each piece of bread. Jam comes in ridiculous amounts. The sandwiches frequently leak jam out the sides or bottom. Don’t really care what kind of bread.
    Peanut butter and honey is much better, though much more sweet. I make it the same as PB&J, but with fireweed honey instead of jam.

  35. Emily says

    ohhh yes i looooveee pb&j sammies! sometimes i switch it up a little bit, i may add banana, nutella, marshmallow fluff, etc…
    i do not exactly have a ratio, it just has to be ooozing with peanut buttery goodness! with a good cold glass of milk :)

    oh yea and usually, i use one peace of wheat bread and 1 peace of white. delish!

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