Today is apparently Peanut Butter Day, for those who track such things, so I’m celebrating with an ode to one my favorite childhood sandwiches. It’s not simply about peanut butter for me today, as the moment I think of it, I always mentally pair it with its famous companion. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, also lovingly known as simply PB&J, was one of the best things about being a kid. Well that, and the lunch box I got to pick out to carry my amazing sandwich, little bag of carrots and apple to school. The first lunch box I remember getting was a Howdy Doody lunchbox. This was a show from the 50’s that got a brief revival in the 70’s as The New Howdy Doody Show. It still featured a little marionette of the same name who is now completely terrifying to watch, but was apparently harmless and even amusing back when I started school. But the real star of the lunchroom show was my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It was quite possibly the best tasting treat I can remember and I still crave them even today.

At my last job, a colleague of mine always brought a brown paper sack to work with a PB&J inside. People used to have fun teasing him about it, but I was sort of jealous and thought it was kind of awesome. It’s like getting to be a kid every day and you don’t have to worry about what to bring and whether or not it will keep until lunchtime. No waiting in the line for the microwave, just open the bag and go for it. Brilliant! Sadly, I never copied this wonderful idea as it was all I could do to get myself out of bed and deal with breakfast, but I still love the concept. It’s actually been years since I’ve had one, though I have been known to sneak a spoonful of peanut butter from time to time. Perhaps it’s because the time I tried as an adult, we’d already converted to a grainy nutritional bread. It wasn’t the same as the doughy white bread I had as a kid that would stick to the roof of my mouth on the first bite.

As I’ve grown older, so many things have been replaced for more nutritional counterparts. To me, that’s one of the toughest things about getting old. Leaving behind the wonderful treats you enjoyed as a kid. There are so many newer recipe options that try to mimic those flavors I enjoyed back then in a healthier way, but they all feel like sad substitutes. The point of memories is to actually relive them as they were, not to be reminded of how you shouldn’t have been eating that in the first place. That’s just a horrible buzz kill. So for me, the quintessential version of this tasty treat will always be the kind between two slices of preternaturally white bread that you can roll into little dough balls. Though it may lack any and all nutritional value, it easily makes up for it in entertainment value so I think that’s a win. While so many things change around me as I age into some future adulthood, I have to hold on to those things that are dear to me. Those wonderful times, when nothing else mattered, and it was all about PB&J.

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Perylene Maroon, Quinacridone Gold, Dioxazine Purple, Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Deep. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
 Day 24 - #WorldWatercolorGroup Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich for Peanut Butter Day on a plate

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36 thoughts on “All About PB&J Today

  1. Charlie ‘O
    If you think leaving behind childhood treats is the roughest thing about growing old . . . just wait till you’re my age . . .

    I do agree there is nothing better than P & J and the cheap white bread. That goes for bologna with mayo – needs cheap white bread too!

    1. Well, since I don’t do any of the cooking, we eat really healthy, yes! LOL 😊 But really well, it’s always really delicious! But yeah… I’d love to try these childhood faves again. Wondering if I would still like them or if the memory is better than the reality thought! hehe

  2. One of my cousins is a few months younger than me, and he got drafted into the US Army. Not quite sure how it happened, but it was during the Vietnam War and he had a low draft number. Less than one minute inducted and he wanted out DESPERATELY but didn’t know how to get released.

    One of his assignments was to serve as a cook for about 300 (hungry, I say HUNGRY) guys and he figured if he did a truly lousy job at cooking, they might drum him out of the army. Plus, he had no idea how to cook, having a mom who was one of the world’s best and who never let her darling baby boy do anything resembling work. Yeah, that kind.

    So, Cuz was supposed to make stew for the hungry crowd and barely understood to start with a very big pot of water. He threw in whatever was on hand, including a few bottles of Hershey’s chocolate syrup and a giant jar of peanut butter. He was going for horrible overkill and immediate dismissal. Of course, the guys loved the stew and no one wanted Cuz to go anywhere but the kitchen.

    Eventually he got an uncle to persuade a local elected official to have pity on the poor boy, and same uncle, who owned a bar, also sent over a few cases of premium alcohol for the officers. Somehow letter and bribe got my Cuz out of service.

    And now I can hardly think of peanut butter without remembering my cousin’s special See Ya Later Stew.

    1. Ohhh… that’s an amazing story, Sharon!! 😃💕 Love that! Thanks so much for sharing it. See Ya Later Stew sounds like it could be oddly delicious… I think I see how it backfired now. lol But good to know he finally got his wish in the end. I like happy endings. 😉

    2. Mole is very popular in my neighborhood and I used to make a Squirrel and peanut stew quite often. I make a dish for my students every few weeks that is similar to Pad Thai, but I use YakiSoba noodles in a jalapeno and peanut butter sauce and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. A friend also taught me a recipe she learned in Africa where you brown chicken in a frying pan, smother it in a sauce made with chili paste, tomato paste and peanut butter. I haven’t yet made that dish for my current students. Thanks for making me think of it! 😎👍

  3. Fabulous doodlewash, but I don’t understand the obsession with peanut butter! And why do you have it with what we call jam! No one in England ever eats PB&J, to us it’s a very strange thing to eat!

  4. I have a theory that everything we enjoyed as children actually did taste wonderful to us then, and would be disappointingly less wonderful now (actually I think it may be a scientific fact because our ability to taste does change, which is why children mostly hate the taste of things they end up liking as adults) but I wish you would conduct an experiment and make a chaep-white-bread pb&j, and see what it’s like! We were never allowed said bread at home and used to fall on it eagerly whenever we could get it, which makes me think we loved it some be a use it was illicit – (we called it The Killer White) but we did eat PB, a lot, at home and loved it (on wholemeal bread I have to say) not so much with jam but with honey, (exquisite), sometimes cheddar cheese, and quite often with watercress (now sadly almost impossible to come by) Sigh!

    1. Oh my gosh, you’re making me hungry with that list! 😊Lol Love it all! But yeah, I do think tastes change a lot as we get older. Since that kind of white bread is also not allowed in my current home, it might make it taste good. All things illicit taste so much better! hehe

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever had a J thrown into this situation, Charlie, but the doodlewash looks very much an indulgence… though I’m just as taken in by the bread and those crusts, to be honest – so yummy! 😛 I hope you managed to sneak a PBJ in for the occasion!

    1. Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕Hehe… it’s brilliant! You should try it! And nope… I didn’t get one. I have no access to bread of this sort anymore. It’s really quite bad for you, so it’s been banned from our home. I wish they sold it by the slice instead of a big ole loaf.

  6. It’s so lovely to read that there are more people who also rolled white bread into little dough balls as a child. 😀 I admit I sometimes do it even in these days. 🙂
    I haven’t tried peanut butter with bread and jelly, I eat it usually straight from the jar, but as you praise it, I guess I must try it.
    Illustration looks delicious. 😛

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