The Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich

24 Oct

Yesterday’s NY Times Dining section online featured a story on the Peanut Butter and Pickle (PB&P) sandwich.  Dwight Garner, a literary critic married to a cookbook writer, asked a variety of food writers what they thought about this simple sandwich combination. The bottom line is they didn’t.  Seems it is very much an underground taste.  “Cult” is how Garner describes this sandwich, which started showing up at lunch counters during the 1930s and in cookbooks of the 1940s.

Too bad he didn’t ask my opinion.  I’m a big fan of the peanut butter and sweet pickle tea sandwich, as those who attended my book launch party in Washington can attest.  I learned about this combination from Helen, an elderly and old-school caterer to Wilmington, Delaware’s “upper crust.”  She specialized in fine, but unpretentious, tea sandwiches, including peanut butter and sweet pickle.

Mr. Garner uses Claussen bread and butter pickles and Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter for his sandwiches, but appears to be agnostic when it comes to the bread.  I’m picky when it comes to bread, preferring Pepperidge Farm small white cocktail slices with the crusts cut off.   Like Mr. Garner, I use Smucker’s peanut butter too, but favor Mt. Holly Sweet Midget pickles from North Carolina, which I hand slice and then press gently into the peanut butter.  Once prepared, I hand press the sandwich and then cut on the diagonal.  Of all the sandwiches prepared for my book party, the PB&P tea sandwiches went first.

Mr. Garner may be right in that the PB&P sandwich might never go mainstream.  But it is tasty…

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