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The History of
The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

I feel this is a very American subject. It seems that in other countries peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or even peanut butter isn't as popular. It is however probably the number one choice for a sandwich with American children as well as adults. I think that this shows that it is the work of a few people that can popularize a certain food and make it a part of a culture. As opposed to thinking that a certain food becomes an icon because of its own integrity.


A Brief History of PB and J sandwich..Food historians have seen nothing written about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich before 1940. What we do know is that GI's in WW 2 were given rations of both peanut butter and jelly. When they returned to the states after the war peanut butter sales and jelly sales both soared.It would seem most likely this would be the birth of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Here is some more links to the different Elements of the PB and J sandwich.
Like the idea of theSandwich ....The Bread .... Peanut Butter... Jelly

From the Food History Timeline

Who invented this popular sandwich, why & when? The when is easy to document, the why is a relatively simple matter of technology, economics & commerce. The who? Is still a mystery.
Let's start with a quick study of the ingredients. Food historians tell us that finely chopped nuts (especially almonds) were regularly used by ancient cooks in a variety of dishes. BUT! It wasn't until the late 19th century that peanut we know it...came on the market. Did you know that peanut butter was first marketed as a health food? Ancient cooks also knew how to preserve fruit. BUT! It wasn't until the 15th century that modern jellies/jams/preserves were made. Ancient cooks also made bread. BUT! Sliced pre-packaged bread...the stuff we Americans use today to make our peanut butter & jelly sandwiches...didn't happen until the late 1920s. Interesting, yes? More notes on the history of PB&J ingredients:
• Marmelade & Modern jelly/jam
• Peanut butter
• Wonder Bread, one of the first American brands associated with sliced white bread.

"The first located reference to the now immortal peanut butter and jelly sandwich was published by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901. This immediately became a hit with America's youth, who loved the double-sweet combination, and it has remained a favorite ever since...During the early 1900s peanut butter was considered a delicacy and as such it was served at upscale affairs and in New York's finest tearooms. Ye Olde English Coffee House made a "Peanut Butter and Pimento Sandwich." The Vanity Fair Tea-Room served its peanut butter with watercress...The Colonia Tea-Room served peanut butter on toast triangles and soda crackers. That peanut butter could be combined with so many divers products demonstrated that it was a relatively neutral platform providing a nutty taste and a sticky texture that bound together various ingredients.

Peanut butter sandwiches moved down the class structure as the price of peanut butter declined due to the commericialization of the industry. Peanut butter's use also moved down the age structure of the nation as manufacturers added sugar to the peanut butter, which appealed to children. The relationship between children and peanut butter was cemented in the late 1920s, when Gustav Papendick invented a process for slicing and wrapping bread. Sliced bread meant that children could make sandwiches themselves without slicing the bread with a potentially dangerous knife. As a consequence of low cost, high nutrition, and ease of assembling, peanut butter sandwiches became one of the top children's meals during the Depression. "

---Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea, Andrew F. Smith [University of Illinois Press:Urbana] 2002 (p. 35)
[NOTE: this book is the BEST source for information on the history of peanuts & peanut butter. It is well researched and copiously documented. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy].





How a PB&J Came to Be
From the Christian Science Monitor
by Suman Bandrapalli, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
The History of Peanut Butter and Jelly

From the Smuckers site
This is an interesting site with a timeline .....that traces the origin of Bread, fruit preserves and peanut butter.The History of Peanut Butter
from Stephen Holloway's CD The History of Food

Susan's Daily Tips

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