Apr 19, 2007

The ubiquitous PB&J

My son went to visit a new school, to help him decide 'where to go to school next year.'

He knew some of the kids at the school, and met others that he really enjoyed. Not too long after his visit, I was having coffee with my new, favorite friend who also happens to be a mom of one of the boys in this particular 5th grade class.

I had to share with her. I mean, how often do you get the fun, social scoop on your own child? I had asked my son what he thought of her son. We were having lunch and he peered at me over his fork and said, "yes, I remember him, he is very sanguine." And, perhaps noting the demise of my education on such highly appointed verbiage he paused to share the definition: "happily confident."

I smiled, to pretend I understood and mask my amusement at his use of vocabulary. As if it were normal. As if his mom even knows how to pronounce, let alone define the aforementioned word. Sanguine. It does roll of your tongue, though, doesn't it?

So I shared with my friend that she had a very sanguine son. And then, adult to adult, I shared the definition. We had a good chuckle and drank our coffee, like grown-ups should.

You would think 'nice' or 'friendly' or even 'outgoing' would have come to mind. Sort of like when you make a PB&J you would describe it as simple, basic, or standard.

But that is not always the case. In fact, PB&Js can be so much more. It is the quintessential sandwich to initiate good ideas; the ubiquitous combination that is the foundation for unveiled ingenuity... (
Touché---mom knows big words too!)

I emailed some friends to ask how they reinvented the PB&J; here are some of the responses to my PB&J query, to bring these slices of bread and condiments beyond 'classic,' 'nice' or 'usual.' Here are personality-filled sandwiches that might even be considered sanguine:

  • Erika from Tummy Treasure had this to say: "My favorite is a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a sprinkle of toasted coconut. When blueberries are in season I also like fresh blueberries and almond butter on whole wheat bread."
  • Stefania from Family Food had this amazing rendition: THAI-STYLE PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH. Serve on a toasted, halved whole wheat bagel (or wheat toast) spread a layer of creamy peanut butter. Then top that with chopped salted peanuts. (You could use chunky peanut butter but this method is waaay better.) Then, top the peanut-y peanut butter bagel with: thin slices of red onion, thin slices of cucumber, Thai or regular basil leaf.
  • Michele from What's Cooking? has reinvented PBJs twice over: her daughter loves hers open faced on Naan with lemon curd, her son isn't allowed to have peanut butter at his preschool, so she uses sunflower seed butter and jam. He can't tell the difference---and the kids at school are safe!
  • Julie from Bad Home Cooking offered this: "my son loves his PB&J's...but he also likes peanut butter and honey sandwiches (me too: especially with creamed honey and crunchy peanut butter!). A Japanese version of the ubiquitous (hey---that is where I got that word from---thanks Julie!) American PB&J that my kids love is Onigiri.
  • Alisa at Go Dairy Free offered her toasty "PBJ": I love almond butter on toast with just cinnamon or a bit of honey and cinnamon. I like it in toast format, but a sandwich works as well. Also, very un-nut-like, I am addicted to Toby's Tofu Pate with tomato slices and lettuce. Still a non-meat spread though, only partially with the theme.
  • Karen's son prefers FlufferNutters made with REAL marshmallow fluff; she likes to sneak in the occasional crunchy peanut butter & piece of milk chocolate---a PB&smores! You can find more of her ideas at Family Style Food.
  • Janelle from Talk of Tomatoes (Okay, that is kind of a joke, since that Janelle is ME---I write on talkoftomatoes as well as brownbagblues---follow THIS link to my article on the Wellfed Network where I uncover the unusual way my kids like their PB&Js!) talks PB&Js, too.
So instead of landing a basic, borderline boring PB&J in your brown bag, aim for better, brazen and brilliantly revised PB&J's! Please share your brown bag brilliance so we can all bag some novelty sandwiches! And to continue to curb your appetite for PB&Js:


Nicole said...

Oh, I love peanut butter, bananas and honey and peanut butter, raisens and cinnamon. My mom used ot make those for us. My kids have just recently started to really love PB&J so I'm holding of making any switches yet.

Nicole said...

And graham crackers and peanut butter - yum! My 3YO had that for the first time last night - he's my sweet tooth.

Erika said...

Great post Janelle! Sanguine!?

I'm loving the idea of cinnamon with PB- I may have to play around with that once or twice.

Kristen said...

I love your new blog. Well... I love your original blog too, but this one is giving me so many fantastic ideas.

janelle said...

nicole: YUM, raisins and cinnamon? My son would LOVE that!

Erika: Me too!

Kristen: thanks a million, it means the world to hear that!

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