I can almost hear your cries of dismay. ‘What? Have I stumbled onto the wrong blog? I thought this girl could bake, but she can’t even make a sandwich!’ Or words to that effect. Please forgive me this one foray out of the baking world and allow me to explain.
If you grew up in the US, I’m guessing that you probably made and ate this sandwich from age dot. But as the topic came up in a twitter chat I participate in – #nuts – I shared the fact that, as a Brit, my first introduction to the very idea of a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich was while watching Saved by the Bell as a young teen (don’t ask me how I remember that!)
I was amazed and disgusted in equal measure. First there was the confusion of jelly and jam – your jello is our jelly, and your jelly is our jam, so I had visions of people trying to pile the wibbly-wobbly stuff onto a slice of bread. Then when I realised that it meant jam (well, why didn’t you say?!) I just couldn’t work out why anyone in their right mind would put peanut butter AND jam into the same sandwich. In our culture, they are two seperate fillings, and ne’er the two should meet.
And for me, that was the issue over. Saved by the Bell finished, and I suppose I went outside to play or upstairs to listen to music, whatever it is that I did as a 13-year-old. In any case, the bizarre case of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich was quickly forgotten. Of course, it came up again on the odd occasion – often in American teen sitcoms, it has to be said – but I didn’t really pay a whole lot of attention to it. I passed it off as one of those quirky things that those people across the Atlantic do, like eat Lucky Charms (multicoloured, highly sugared rings for breakfast? Forget it – frosted flakes didn’t even make it into our cereal collection).
But then the gauntlet was laid down by some members of the #nuts fraternity to try this most beloved of American snacks. And, since I am not one to refuse a challenge, at their behest, I decided I would give it a go.
I even managed to recruit a fellow novice to join me in the experiment: my younger brother. Having spent the morning swimming, we were desperate for a snack, so we got out the bread, peanut butter and jam (sorry, jelly!) and proceeded to make ourselves the sandwiches.
And the verdict? Well, we agreed that it didn’t taste half as weird as we thought it would and that it was actually alright. It certainly quelled our hunger pangs. I guess there’s no reason why the flavours of peanut butter and jelly shouldn’t work, but there is still something slightly odd about the pairing, at least to our British palates. It’s a lot in one sandwich; the rich nuttiness of the peanut butter, and the sweet fruitiness of the jam – each on its own is quite enough to be getting on with, I think.
But then I doubt a sandwich has ever been analysed in such depth before! So, while I can’t say I’ll be making one again anytime soon, I no longer find the idea completely bizarre. And I can now say with my head held high, that I have eaten my first ever peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Thank you, #nuts friends, it was a lot of fun!