The PBM fit for the King
I grew up with Skippy peanut butter and PB&J sandwiches. I remember watching The NeverEnding Story, and noting the times that Bastian huddled under a dusty blanket munching on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As he pleaded to save Fantasia and the rainstorm thundered outside, he made his way through that comforting sandwich bite by bite. He seemed to have an endless supply of it while locked away in the school’s attic.
I’ve always enjoyed peanut butter and the various iterations of nut butter, including almond, cashew and even walnut butter. But nut butters have become the anathema of school lunches. The dangers of peanut allergies and sensitivities have gotten so much attention over the years. As a responsible parent, I understand and appreciate the safeguards we have in place to protect children who have life-threatening allergies.
At home, we enjoy the occasional PB&J sandwich on the weekends. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and comes packed with macronutrients. I’ll happily spread peanut butter on a slice of toast.
PBM: A Southern Comfort
One thing I had never tried was a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. After reading about it in the Huffington Post article Peanut Butter And Mayo: The Sandwich That May Divide Us All, of course I was intrigued. I’ve always been interested in the time of the Great Depression (1929-1939), as it was both a devastating period and one of sea-change. The decadent roaring twenties led into a melancholic decade filled with jazz, blues, gospel and swing. One of the Southern comfort foods to come out of the Great Depression was the PBM sandwich. When food was scarce, folks could improvise with the less perishable white bread, peanut butter and mayonnaise. The combination was protein and calorie dense. The Huffington Post article referenced an older article from Garden & Gun, which provides a satisfying narrative of what it must have been like to have PBM as a saving grace, as well as a bit of childhood nostalgia for those who grew up eating it.
We all know that Elvis, the King himself, enjoyed a good peanut butter and banana sandwich. He may have even had a craving for PBM. Remembering my 18-hour road trip to Graceland years back, I knew I had to try it to satisfy my curiosity.
The experimental lunch
My daughter presided over the sandwich-making exercise, squealing with delight as she would be getting her toddler hands into the creative process. We went with GF white bread for the grown-ups, and soft brioche rolls for the kiddos. I grabbed a jar of Skippy’s for the grown-ups and Adam’s peanut butter (no additives) for the kids.
Simple ingredient list:
– Peanut butter
– Ripe Banana
– White sandwich bread (and brioche rolls for the kids)
Unlike some of the photos you may have seen, I used mayonnaise rather sparingly. The mayo could be overpowering, and I wanted to avoid pushing sourness into the peanut butter combo. I added sliced bananas. We had the natural sweetness of the ripe bananas, the tang of mayo, and the creaminess of peanut butter.
The hubs and son were worthy participants. They both examined the lunch in trepidation, and then with a little encouragement, took the plunge. My normally picky son finished his sandwich with surprising efficiency and exclaimed “I like it.” The hubs commented that the mayonnaise combination had made the peanut butter creamier in consistency and taste. The sourness all but went away with the inclusion of the banana slices. Overall, my son gave a hiked thumbs up.
The PBM was tasty enough, but didn’t rival my childhood PB&J. The experimental lunch satisfied my curiosity, and I understood why it had become a beloved staple during a time when food was scarce.
On a cold, rainy day, I am still in the camp of eating a PB&J, huddled under a blanket while watching Bastian save Fantasia for the umpteenth time.