Hello dearies’ Betty is back.
So lately I’ve really been having a hard time coming up with anything to write about. My life has held quite a few ups and downs and along with the occasional 5pm nip’ to sooth the soul, well let’s just say Betty is plum tuckered out!
But not to fret! Today while working around the station I made a promise to myself that tonight would be the night, and if it meant writing about the very first thing popping into my shriveling brain (age you know) then darn it so be it!
Anyways I am seated at the computer and well, ok, uh, here goes, we are writing about the very first thing that POPS into my brain. Hmmm-maybe after I adjust the seat a little…. There we go, now how about a sip of lemonade? Yes, yes I feel something profound coming on….. Turn off the phone, maybe a little music to stimulate the senses, that may work don’t you think? Ahhh wait a minute I think I may have something, Yeeees, yeeeeeees, YES!
Now everyone who’s enjoyed old Betty’s company knows that alongside the world-famous hot dog there is nothing I like better than a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich! The thought of one right now leaves my taste buds drowning like the bottom of Niagara falls! Beloved by children around the world this little piece of culinary mastery has been the staple of lunches for generations! Bringing smiles of pleasure while ingesting with a crisp cold glass of milk and a Oreo cookie! (We will cover Oreo’s at another juncture)
MMMMMMMMM-M! Yep, filling, satisfying, tasty and good for you too! (Don’t give stats on nutrition I don’t care as far as I’m concerned it’s next to perfect) But where the real secret in the Peanut Butter and Jelly (PB&J) sandwich lies is in how it’s made or “crafted”! I know freaking crazy huh? All this time you were just slapping those two ingredients together and BAM! You thought you were in the clear! Sheer perfection done! But no my children, sadly it’s not that simple. The preparation, the dynamic, the love placed into every one of theses sandwiches is legendary and with its tradition must be honored or held with the highest regards! But before I get into the specifics let’s take a stroll down memory lane to understand the origin of the PB&J.
In the early 1900s, peanut butter was considered a delicacy that was only served in New York City‘s finest tearooms. The product was first paired with a diverse set of foods such as pimento, nasturtium, cheese, celery, watercress, and on toasted crackers. In a Good Housekeeping article published in May 1896, a recipe “urged homemakers to use a meat grinder to make peanut butter and spread the result on bread.” In June of that same year, the culinary magazine Table Talk published a “peanut butter sandwich recipe.” The first reference of peanut butter paired with jelly on bread to be published in the United States was by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901 in the Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics. By the late 1920s, this sandwich eventually moved down the class structure as the price of peanut butter dropped. It became popular with children. During World War II, it is said that both peanut butter and jelly were found on U.S. soldiers’ military ration list, as claimed by the Peanut Board. –Wikipedia
Good enough for a soldier than damn sure lip smacking good enough for my little heathens I say! Julia Davis Chandler I love you for thinking outside the box, throwing caution into the wind and not allowing Boston’s elite to scoff at the idea of pairing the ever so coveted peanut butter with a poor man’s ration of smooshed up fruit! Humph!
Hey that reminds me; you got your chocolate on my peanut butter! No you got your peanut butter on my chocolate! Hee hee, a topic of peanut/chocolate/ desert delight best held for another time.
Now I am not sure sweet caring Julia knew at the time, but to build a perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich one must choose the proper ingredients, hand-pick the perfect bread and place them all together in sequence or you just end up with a soggy poo sandwich!
- The bread must be white! Not that marketing ploy I am healthy for you fake wheat/white bread they are selling oh no! Smooshy, white, bleached white, squishy, soft, smells straight from the oven white bread! Now for a more sophisticated connoisseur, gathering a few slices of sourdough in place of white and serving the sandwich as such will wring the hundred-dollar bill from any man, but for the heart and soul of this sandwich nothing less than real white bread will do!
- Jelly is a sticky subject (all pun intended). There are spreads, jellies, jams, preserves and whatever that stuff is that comes in the white wrapped generic bottles from the bottom shelf of every grocery store in America! In my humble, little ole opinion, jams and preserves are the only way to go! If you are taking the time to enjoy the fruits Mother Nature has provided on a sandwich paired with the butter of a peanut then for the love of god it had better EXPLODE with fruity flavor! Now there are multiple choices when it comes to the jam/jelly arena of battle! But for my taste buds only Strawberry or Blackberry will do. You can use what you want, but please remember this; marmalade is not a jelly, I don’t care what anyone tells you! Oh it looks like jelly, its labeled jelly and its makes a good attempt at tasting like jelly! But jelly lives on the wrong side of the tracks people! Over yonder where the rich kids dare not go! So never and I mean ever pair that homemade blue-collar, loving life jelly with a marmalade! You are just asking for trouble and the next thing you know kids in the town are going to want to dance! And hold a school dance on the outskirts of town in an old grain mill… Sorry got stuck in the 80’s for a minute. But even so, It just aint right.
- Peanut Butter comes under many guises. We have creamy peanut butter-smooth and soft like a fat baby’s underbelly! Heavenly taken from straight out of the center of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! Crunchy peanut butter-rough, gritty, nutty it shouts I am a lumberjack, or Sasquatch lives here! This crude creation melded so slightly with white collars soft frailty overloading your senses with a feeling of all natural while sliding into something from Ralph Lauren. And of course last but least there is Natural Peanut Butter all oily and un-mixed, kept in a fridge for fear it will actually age and turn more disgusting. Yah that’s all I got on natural peanut butter. I see that jar come from the fridge and I instantly roll up a newspaper and smack that person on the nose screaming; NO! NO! YOU PUT THAT BACK! NO! BAD PERSON, BAD PERSON!
- Last but not least. Place an equal amount of peanut butter on one slice of bread as you would jelly/jam on the other side of bread. Too much peanut butter and the sandwich sticks to the roof of your mouth which can be like asking your tongue to wrestle stretch Armstrong. Too much jelly and a diabetic coma is in your future complete with desert like thirst and the need to lick some coffee grounds to even out the sweetness. Place both halves together gently, careful not to squish as squashing creates oozy, seeping jelly bread and enjoy!
So there you have it, the first thing that came to my mind encompassing the four major components of the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.
Hope you all are glad I am back! Hee hee hee!