March 14, 2012

My favorite sandwich is the Peanut Butter and Jelly, although I use jam, too. (Please note the simply delicious Peanut Butter and Jelly cupcake recipe in today's House of Humoronics!!) I was just talking with my friend Les and we both wondered how boring life must have been without ice cream, and peanut butter and jelly (jam, too).

We'll leave ice cream to another day, and focus today on the ever-popular Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.

Nothing has been written about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich before 1940, according to some food historians. During World War II GI's were given rations of both peanut butter and jelly. After the war peanut butter sales and jelly sales both soared. Many say this was the birth of the sandwich made of peanut butter and jelly.

However, 13 years before World War II, an innovation took place that brought the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich on to the tables of the American family and into the hands of children nationwide through an invention by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, and improved upon by St. Louis baker Gustav Papendick. What was it? Sliced Bread!

Kleen Maid Sliced Bread was introduced by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, as the first sliced-bread in 1928, and Wonder Bread began selling sliced bread nationwide in 1930. Now, kids could make their own sandwiches without the fear of a child slicing bread with a sharp knife.

The first located reference to the now famous peanut butter and jelly sandwich was published by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901. (And, not to veer off subject here, but, the word television was coined in France in 1901 - another "kid" staple!)

Prior to 1901, peanut butter, without jelly, was served in high-scale cafes and New York's finest tearooms. It was served on triangle pieces of toast, and soda crackers, and with water cress. It was expensive, but, as manufacturing costs dropped with modernization, by the time Wonder Bread hit the American scene in 1930, the time was right for this great American sandwich.

Dr. George Washington Carver was not the father of peanut butter, but he is still referred as the father of the peanut industry because of all the over 300 products he created using the peanut.

In 1890, a St. Louis physician, it is told, encouraged George A. Bayle Jr., the owner of a food products company, to process and package ground peanut paste as a nutritious protein substitute for people who had bad teeth and were unable to chew meat.

The doctor had been experimenting with grinding peanuts in his hand operated meat grinder. Bayle mechanized the process and began selling peanut butter out of barrels for about 6 per pound.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (Battle Creek, Michigan) started experimenting with peanut butter as a vegetarian source of protein for his patients. His brother, W.K. Kellogg, was business manager of their sanitarium, the Western Health Reform Institute. W. K. Kellogg opened Sanitas Nut Company and supplied foods like peanut butter to local grocery stores. Peanut butter was marketed as a health food originally.

In 1904, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich was a favorite at the International Exposition in St. Louis. Some folks say it was also sold at the 1893 Chicago Exposition.

So, depending on who you talk to, depends on where the immortal sandwich actually came from. I'm putting my bet on the 1904 International Exposition in St. Louis, the very same place where the Ice Cream Cone was invented!

Peter Pan Peanut Butter was invented in 1928, and JIF, in 1958. JIF has the largest peanut butter factory in the world.

How To Make A Peanut Butter & Jelly (or Jam) Sandwich

  1. Start with selecting sliced bread and putting two pieces flat on a plate.
  2. Locate a jar of peanut butter. Open it.
  3. Take a knife and spread peanut butter on one piece of bread.
  4. Locate a jar of jelly (or jam). Open it.
  5. Take a knife and spread jelly (or jam, or both) on the other piece of bread.
  6. Put both pieces together.
  7. Enjoy!