Spiffy Jiffy: Gourmet Peanut Butter Sandwiches


Peanut butter and bread is just a staple for us. Along with hopes, dreams, and a daily dose of humility, it’s part of the natural diet for any young, poor writer. And while we’ve gone days where that combination provided each meal, there are times when I groan when my kitchen only offers a lonesome jar of Jiff.

That isn’t to say that I don’t cherish my dear PB. The little dear has gotten me through so many hunger pains, application process, relationship issues, and quick meals, but there are times when I need to spice things up, so to speak.

So here are a few steps to refresh that peanut butter sandwich, fellow poor writers. Eat and be merry!

1) The Traditional

Jelly. Nothing quite transforms a peanut butter sandwich like preserves, and the best part about jelly is the amount of things that can be jammed these days. Peaches! Apricots! Chilis!

Well, don’t go too crazy here. Personally, I go for the traditional strawberry, smearing it on one slice, then peanut butter on the other, before they meet in joyous, exact matrimony, like a prayer between my squished palms.

This has the added bonus of making one feel slightly nostalgic while also feeling slightly grown-up. Think, “mom used to make these for me. Look at me now! I made it myself!”

False as that feeling may be as you should be eating adult food, like Garbanzo beans or something.


2) Sprinkled Sugar

This was a favorite of mine around third grade. A friend introduced this phenomenon to me at a slumber party, and I went straight home and sugared the crap out of all the peanut butter sandwiches in my kitchen. Luckily for me, my mom didn’t curb me and the sugar jar was within reach of my tiny nine-year-old arms.


3) The King (aka Elvis)

My most experimental stage with peanut butter must have been around third-grade—possibly because this was the age where I started to make my own lunches—because I started to have sugared peanut butter toast in the morning and King sandwiches for lunch.

Surprisingly enough, I learned about this sandwich from this reading show on PBS. The puppet main character forgot to bring bread but had peanut butter and a banana. The human adult suggested he put them together.

Man, I ran to the kitchen when I saw this extraordinary thing happen.

It was only when I started to take a big bite at lunch—hands formed into claws at either end of the bread and elbows bent at my ears—that my teacher remarked that I had a Elvis’ favorite: peanut butter and banana.


4) Public School Bagged Lunch

Okay, bear with me because people give me weird looks when I suggest this one, but it’s pretty much my favorite combination.

I’m not sure about you, but when we had field trips we had bagged lunches. And at Compton Elementary, our choices were between ham and cheese or peanut butter. And if you were smart, you’d choose peanut butter. Because it wasn’t just peanut butter. It was sweeter, creamier.

It was independence (from school that day), and I’ve spent years trying to figure out the perfect combination to emulate that taste. Cheap peanut butter, different honeys, mixing in jam. I couldn’t get it right, until I spoke to my fellow Compton alumni, and I heard it, syrup.


If you find that awful, then you can also try Apple Jam, which is actually the real answer according to a cafeteria cook I spoke to recently.

But my taste buds are already in love with the PB and syrup mixture. To an unhealthy degree.


5) Midnight Crunch Experiment

My friend Abi gave this to me. Apparently it is a favorite late night bite, and I can only agree as the ingredients—peanut butter, pickles, and potato chips—seem dubiously experimental, yet appropriately chosen (they’re all P’s).

She assures me that the texture is wonderfully crunchy, and as this recipe combines pretty much all of my favorite foods I can’t knock it.

It is pretty fancy compared to the other peanut butter sandwiches, but think of it as an excuse to keep pickles on hand. You should always have pickles on hand.


6) This is My Life Now

Life got you down and the reminder of a plain peanut butter sandwich just puts you over the edge, reminding you that you very well just might eat this for the rest of your life?

Crush up some Oreos and put them inside.



3 thoughts on “Spiffy Jiffy: Gourmet Peanut Butter Sandwiches

  1. I dunno – is it truly an Elvis without bacon? Your arteries should be weeping cholesterol while your muscles suck up as much potassium as possible to keep hauling your fat ass around.

    You know what a mildly-inconvenient travesty it is when you’re eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and jelly slides out the back of the sandwich. Here’s an Internet tip guaranteed to help your PB&J defy gravity!

    The Peanut Butter Barrier
    • Cover one side of a slice of bread with peanut butter. The whole side – corner to corner.
    • Spread a half-inch of PB around the edges of the second piece of bread, creating a PB square with an empty patch in the middle.
    • Spread jelly or other filling in the empty patch, keeping it slightly below or level with the PB barrier.
    • Top the jelly slice of bread with the PB slice and press down on the edges to seal them.

    And voilà! More PB&J in your mouth, less on your lap.

  2. Pingback: Boston Gourmet Goodies | Travel FAQ

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