Peanut butter and jam is the sandwich for these times, but palate fatigue is real, and eating new and different things is one small way we can shake things up, so to speak. (Also, you may run out of jam. It happens, I have heard.) Though my favourite combination—JIF and strawberry Bonne Mamam—is flawless, there are other peanut butter-based sandwiches that are just as enjoyable and a little more adventurous.
Peanut Butter & Pickle
My very first published piece focused on this sandwich, so it holds a special place in my heart (and origin story). Like a preference for American cheese, one’s opinion of the PB&P can serve as a “basic-ness” detector. Are you immediately turned off by the unknown or the “weird”? Do you let normie aesthetics and values dictate your plate? Do you actually understand enough about food and flavour to get that sweet, unctuous peanut butter begs for the acidic sharpness of vinegar and the refreshing crunch of a preserved cucumber? This sandwich answers all of those questions.
It’s very good. I recommend toasting the (white) bread, letting it cool a bit (so it doesn’t melt the peanut butter) and using the most acidic, assertive pickles you can find. Slather both sides of the bread with peanut butter and blot the pickle slices with a paper towel before adding them to the sandwich.
Peanut Butter & Bacon
This one is a nice breakfast sandwich that doesn’t involve eggs. I’ve heard some parts of the world are experiencing an egg shortage, yet I have not heard the same about bacon (suspicious). PB&B provides a nice combination of savoury and sweet and takes well to the addition of fresh fruit—consider banana or apple.
A heartier, seedier bread can be fun here, and I once again recommend toasting. If you have a really fancy peanut (or other seed) butter, swapping out the bacon for a prosciutto crisp is the move.
Marshmallow fluff and peanut butter sandwiches are technically classified as a “snack,” though they certainly could also pass as a dessert. I did not grow up eating them—I think they are a New England thing—but the sweet and sweeter combination won me over later in life. You should use un-toasted squishy white bread, but you can microwave the two slathered sides for a few seconds before smashing them together. If you have Nutella, throw that on there, too.
Peanut Butter & Potato Chips
This is more of a fever dream than a sandwich, but that doesn’t stop it from being delicious. Plain, super-salty, kettle-cooked chips hold up the best against peanut butter, but a spicy BBQ or sriracha also work surprisingly well. If you don’t have any chips, try pretzels! Drizzle on some honey. Live a little.
Peanut Butter & Almost Any Fruit
Fruit is basically raw jam, so putting the sliced fresh stuff on a peanut butter sandwich is an obvious move. Even without bacon, apple and banana make a good peanut butter sandwich, as do berries, pears and some stone fruits—especially if they’re dried apricots. A wholegrain bread feels like the right choice here, but whatever you have is fine. These are unusual times, and bread is a fraught subject.
What is the most unusual peanut butter sandwich you ever had? What was the most delicious pairing? I’ve been thinking of trying adding marmite to my peanut butter and bacon, but we’re not there yet. A Canadian friend of mine claims “fried peanut butter and tomato” is a real sandwich his mum used to make, but that—like much of Canada—seems made-up.