The peanut butter sandwich is both a blank canvas and a completed work of art, a stand-alone dish and a building block. It’s delicious in its own right, but add a swipe of marshmallow fluff or a smear of fancy jam, and now you’re really talking. Inspired by the don’t-knock-it-until-you’ve-tried-it combo of peanut butter and mayonnaise, The Takeout decided to share some of our other, less conventional peanut butter sandwich riffs.
When it comes to peanut butter, I prefer chunky to smooth. Unfortunately for me, my children hate chunky peanut butter, obviously because they know I like it, so we’ve become a smooth PB house. (Before anyone asks: I tried to keep a jar of chunky just for myself, the plan backfired spectacularly because #parenthood, and no I will not elaborating at this time). Continuing with my preferences: Sandwiches come in second place to eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, which is something I do at least once a day because peanut butter is pretty much my favorite food. To give these “peanut butter pops,” as I call them, a bit of texture, I dip the loaded spoon into a container of chia seeds, which are relatively flavorless and add a ton of crunch. They also have the benefit of being super good for me, with lots of heart healthy oils and dietary fiber that I desperately need since far too much of my diet is just straight up peanut butter. I figure that sprinkling a tablespoon of chia seeds in the middle of my sandwiches cancels out any “bad” parts of the peanut butter, which sounds like good science. —Allison Robicelli
My peanut butter sandwich of choice is one that I eat only sparingly, though I sure would like to eat it more often: peanut butter and bacon on toast. It was passed down by my mom, who ate it when she herself was a kid. The toast is a pretty important piece of the puzzle here, creating a gradient of textures in each bite: toasty bread, alternatingly crispy and springy bacon, and smooth, creamy peanut butter that melts up against the warm toast. The interplay of the two different fats can’t be beat, either. And for all the work of frying up the bacon, you might as well make two, right? —Marnie Shure
My dad liked peanut butter and butter sandwiches. When my sister and I were little, he made us believe that this the one true and correct way to eat a peanut butter sandwich. We didn’t question. But this was the ’80s when everyone was terrified of butter, so what we really had were peanut butter and margarine sandwiches. I finally saw the light when our family got our first microwave. Those were heady times! We would all gather around and watch our food turn around on the turntable as it cooked. We got microwaveable milkshakes! And White Castles! Somehow I acquired a book called Kids Cook Microwave. It had a recipe for a peanut butter sandwich on toast, that you then put in the microwave, so the peanut butter would melt. It suggested you add marshmallows. One day, in the spirit of experimentation, I did. It didn’t matter that the microwave made the toast soggy, or that a morning in a brown paper stuffed in a locker turned it like cardboard. Now I realize how misguided all of this was, but back in the day, I loved my microwaved peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches, and they were my go-to school lunch for years, even after we had gotten over the initial thrill of the microwave and had gone back to using the stove. —Aimee Levitt