An Illustrated History of the Famous Lunch and Snack Classic, The All-American Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Just about everyone in the USA has grown up eating a yummy Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich for snacks and lunches – mine used to come homemade, wrapped up in wax paper. Curious and wondering how this simple sandwich came to be, I decided to begin a little investigation of my own via searching around in archives of vintage newspaper stories, articles and advertisements. Here’s what I came up with so far:
INVENTION AND ORIGINS : A TIMELINE
- In the later years of the Nineteenth Century, the 1890’s – the Peanut Sandwich is quite popular. So is the Jelly Sandwich (sometimes called a “bread and jam sandwich” or simply “jam sandwich”).
- Here is a recipe idea seen in a vintage newspaper circa December 30th, 1894 – Peanut Sandwiches made from a homemade Peanut Paste and spread on diamonds of thin bread. Obviously, an early version of a Peanut Butter Sandwich.
- Peanut Butter is introduced as a popular new product in the 1890’s and becomes rather a health fad.
- So when does Peanut Butter actually merge with Jelly into one totally awesome sandwich? Well, it seems to be pretty widely stated that the first claim to the idea of combining the flavors of peanut butter with jelly on a single sandwich was by Julia Davis Chandler in the The Boston Cooking School Magazine, November 1901, where she recommends making a sandwich with layers of bread, peanut paste, and currant or crab-apple jelly. She tells us the combination is delicious and, as far as she knows, original. Well, sounds like a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich to me! Here’s a snippet of her magazine article:
- By the teens era, 1910’s, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich appears to be a standard type of sandwich, especially prevalent as something for mom’s to put in their children’s lunch pails.
- By the 1920’s, it’s pretty clear by the advertisements and menus as seen in vintage newspapers from the day, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich has now become standard lunchtime and picnic fare for the masses.
- Sometimes it’s even called “Peanut Butter and Jam”!