Easy Recipes, Food & Fitness

PB & J of the Corona Era

The Covid-19 isolation continues. By now, most of us are settling into a few new routines; some surprisingly welcome, others not so much. For many, oddly enough, this is a time for new personal resolutions. First on the list: ration the supplies. How long can we abide by this rule when our lives are so abruptly upended?

Wellness gurus are invading the web with recommendations for mental health, budget, children’s activities and diet, inviting us to be flexible and creative. Some suggest this is a time for personal inventory and change: quit sugar, go on a diet, start a daily exercise routine. All very well but relaxing into a stressful situation is a worthy strategy too. There is a time and place for discipline, and its best place is along with an intelligent, carefree attitude.

Enter guilty pleasures. Some are harmful, but some are downright good for body and soul. The Peanut Butter Sandwich is a classic. Who was the genius who came up with this food therapy?

The Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics is said to be first to make a reference to the PB & J sandwich in a 1901 publication. But the true moment of glory for the all-American home-made snack could not arise until after the 1920’s. This is when pre-packaged sliced bread arrived in homes. The PB & J sandwich is a true example of food evolution. Puréed nuts were first used in the late 1800’s. Jelly, or fruit preserves, were first produced 4 centuries earlier, in the 1500’s.

April 2nd is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day. The Covid-19 quarantine is the perfect time to further the evolution of this wholesome snack with creative variations, and it can be truly good for you too. Here are some known and odd suggestions. We recommend serving open-faced as this, at least psychologically, doubles the pleasure. And it is conducive to sharing. You did stock up on Peanut Butter, right?

To 2 slices of your favorite whole-grain bread, toasted (or not), add:

  • Apple slices and shredded Cheddar
  • Fresh sliced fig
  • Toasted coconut
  • Mixed nuts and dried fruit
  • Crumbled chocolate chip cookies
  • Crunchy cereal
  • Granola and raisins (or not)
  • Nutella and bacon
  • Banana and bacon
  • Pomegranate
  • Sliced pickles
  • Grilled chicken
  • Thin fruitcake slices
  • Pretzel crumble
  • Blue cheese crumble
  • Apple and cinnamon

Ultimate Bonus… The PB Split: Spread PB on an open hot-dog bun. Add one whole banana. Sprinkle with seeds, raisins or granola mix. Garnish with fruit preserve.