Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Posted by Quynh Nguyen on February 8th, 2011

For as long as I can remember, “peanut butter and jelly” has been an iconic combination – a beautifully matched pair against which all other pairs should be measured. With a little research, I found out that peanut butter was first invented as a health food – an easy to digest form of protein for people who either couldn’t afford meat, or oddly enough, couldn’t chew it. The peanut butter of the early 1900s likely was more of a gritty peanut “paste” and was not an object of foodie fandom.

When World War II hit, peanut butter and jelly were both items in a soldier’s ration box. The way the story goes, the soldiers used the jelly to sweeten the ultra-healthy peanut-paste sandwiches, and boom – a star was born! When the servicemen returned home, they all hollered, “We want peanut butter and jelly!” The industry answered, Peter Pan and Skippy were born, and somehow cheap, healthy, and delicious all converged to create a food icon.

It wouldn’t be long before two slices of bread became old news and PB&J found its way into far more interesting vehicles. Bars, cookies, smoothies, pies, you name it!  Not only are peanut butter and jelly endlessly versatile ingredients, but they themselves offer a modicum  of variety – chunky, smooth, natural, strawberry, raspberry, grape.  There is practically no way to get bored with these flavor combinations.

These days, war rations are not a relevant issue, but finding affordable and nutritious food is a prevalent concern.  Kids are tough to please, money is tight, and pressure on families to “do it all” is higher than ever.

Philabundance is sensitive to the needs of the community, so one of our many ways to lend a hand is the Spread the Love campaign.  Every time we get a “like” on Facebook between now and Valentine’s Day, ShopRite will donate 1 jar of peanut butter or jelly to us. Last year this campaign did amazingly well. In just 14 days, we secured nearly 3,000 jars of PB&J for those in need but we can do better.  It’s just a click!   And each click will help another person in need in the Delaware Valley enjoy something tasty, something nutritious. This is a sandwich whose history is rooted in a time when everyone had to pull together, because there was practically nothing to go around.  Trust me, there’s plenty to go around these days – we just need to get it to the people who need it.  Let’s spread that love! Click here for details on the Spread the Love Food Drive.

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