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National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

Popular with kids, but certainly not just for them, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich—often simply known as a PB&J—is celebrated and eaten today. The sandwich is made with one or more layers of peanut butter—either chunky or smooth—and jelly, usually on white bread, although any bread may be used. It is sometimes made open faced and then folded together, to make what looks like a half sandwich.

There are many variations of the sandwich. Instead of or in addition to jelly and peanut butter, ingredients may include jam, honey, sliced fruit, and cream cheese. Nutella, almond butter, and marshmallow fluff can also be used. When marshmallow fluff takes the place of the jelly the sandwich is known as a fluffernutter.

The first peanut butter and jelly sandwich recipe may have been printed in 1901, in The Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science & Domestic Economics. The recipe called for "three very thin layers of bread and two of filling, one of peanut paste, whatever brand you prefer, and currant or crab-apple jelly for the other." The recipe's creator, Julia David Chandler, said that "the combination is delicious, and, so far as I know, original."

Popular peanut butter brands such as Skippy and Peter Pan began being sold in the 1920s and 1930s, but it wasn't until the years of World War II that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches began becoming popular. On the home front, supplies and food like butter, sugar, and meat were rationed and expensive, while peanut butter was not rationed and was cheap. Overseas, peanut butter and jelly were on the ration lists of soldiers during the war. Peanut butter was an inexpensive alternative to meat for them, and it is believed that soldiers made it more appetizing by adding jelly to it. After the war, soldiers brought their love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches home with them, helping to make them popular across the country.

How to Observe National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

Celebrate the day by enjoying peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! You could make a classic sandwich with peanut butter and grape jelly, but what's stopping you from adding ingredients such as marshmallow fluff, fruit, or honey, or upgrading your sandwich in another way? Even Elvis' favorite sandwich—with peanut butter, bacon, and bananas—isn't too far removed from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You could also make one of many recipes that have peanut butter and jelly as ingredients.

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