Long before mac ‘n cheese became a kid superfood, there was peanut butter & jelly. In my humble opinion, it’s not open for debate – the ultimate make-a-kid-happy food is without a doubt the peanut butter & jelly sammich. At least, for my kids that is the honest truth. And according to them, yours truly, a/k/a/Mom, makes The Perfect PB&J – no rhyme or reason to why, just because Mom does it to make her kiddos happy, and it’s a comfort food for them.
So is The Perfect PB&J just a “My Mom” thing? Or is it actually possible that us moms really DO make the best PB&J sammiches? I mean, it’s not like the kids can order Mom’s PB&J sammich in a restaurant . . . so yes, I bet most kids would resoundingly agree that they would rather have Mom’s PB&J sammich than most anything else and enthusiastically proclaim that “MY mom makes the BEST peanut butter & jelly sammich in the whole world!” It’s Mom who really is the difference in how The Perfect PB&J becomes a favorite meal for her kiddos. A mother’s love is truly evident in the perfect spreading of peanut butter and jelly between two slices of bread for her kiddos – and the fact that she does it just to please them!
But do adults secretly love PB&J too? What’s your idea of the perfect PB&J combo? Between two slices of white bread with jelly? Or is it open-faced on crackers, with or without your favorite jam? It’s ok if PB&J is your comfort food too!
I’ll tell you a secret – I did not grow up eating PB&J, not ever. In fact, I was not a peanut butter lover as a kid – strange concept, I know! As an adult, I’ve grown to love the stuff and actually prefer the crunchy type, with strawberry jam, on Ritz crackers.
Don’t worry though – I was not a deprived child, I promise! Sammiches at my house were always on white Sunbeam “loaf bread” and were either red-rind bologna with a slice of hoop cheese (both from the country store a few miles down the road), tunafish salad or pimento cheese spread (both of the latter were homemade by my mom and made exclusively with Miracle Whip). Now my brother was always (and still is) a picky eater – so he DID grow up eating PB & grape jelly sammiches. But my sister and I were more bologna-n-cheese kinda gals. (And yes, I do still enjoy a bologna & cheese sammich, just in case you’re wondering if I find it disgusting as an adult – absolutely not, I just prefer mustard now.)
But across the road at my grandparents’ house, peanut butter was a staple. In fact, Skippy PB & Premium saltine crackers were my Granddaddy’s favorite (he was not a sandwich-eater), so I did eat peanut butter crackers with him occasionally, just to do something with him that he enjoyed.
Back to The Perfect PB&J chat . . . when our kids came along, PB&J was the normal sammich that every mom fixed their kids so, of course, it became an immediate staple at our house. In fact, our kids took a PB&J sammich (+chips, fruit, snack) to school every single day for lunch. They preferred PB&J over basically anything offered for the lunch meal. And they wanted me to make the sammich – not their dad and certainly not themselves – even through high school.
I always wondered why I, a/k/a MOM, had to make THE SAMMICH. So one day I asked and here’s what they said: “Mom, you make the BEST PB&J sammich in the whole world.” I was a bit confused, as all I do is spread a generous amount of peanut butter to the edge of the crust of BOTH slices of bread (definitely the crust is a requirement with PB&J), smush the jelly (not jam, jelly) and spread it evenly over the peanut butter (not too thick), top with the other slice of peanut butter’d bread then cut it diagonally. That is all I do. I’m not sure what’s special about that process that I can do in my sleep, but somehow it must be for my family!
Just a tidbit: Even my husband wants me to make his PB&J sammich – I guess his Mom made him The Perfect PB&J as a kid, too, and it’s a comfort food he remembers. It’s like making PB&J is an unwritten “Mom job” at home. So I guess that perhaps there is an art to making The Perfect PB&J – and us Moms mastered it a zillion moons ago. And this Mom does not mind making PB&J sammiches if it makes my family happy ?