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Cutting through the Crusts

Written by Alandra Blume



Bombs exploded all around. What used to be French countryside was stinking mud, and American soldiers were stuck there in the 1940ís during World War II. They didnít have much to eat in the trenches. But you know the food they liked best? Peanut butter and jelly - nick named PB&J.

Both those things were in the soldiersí rations (the food they got during war-time), so they might have done something like this:

One soldier said to another, ďHey, it tastes pretty good when you eat jelly and peanut butter together.Ē

ďItís okay,Ē said the other. ďI think Iíll eat mine with some bread. Maybe itíll hide the taste of the mold.Ē

Well, it did, and the discovery caught on. It mightíve given the soldiers strength to win battles.

When they came home after the war, peanut butter and jelly flew off the shelves as servicemen shared it with their families.

But 40 years earlier, the food had caught on in some homes. Letís go back to 1901 (thatís 110 years ago), when we know somebody, somewhere made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It might have been a kid who didnít have anything else to eat, or maybe a chef making a new recipe, or a dog that got into the pantry (okay, maybe not that one).

Breadís been around since ancient times, jellyís been around since the 1400ís, and stores started to sell peanut butter in the late 1800ís. So it took a while for the ingredients to come together.

In 1901, the inventor of PB&J would have used homemade bread, because they didnít have packaged bread like we do today.

Some people say that in the 1930ís, during the Great Depression, PB&J was one of the only things they had to eat, since it didnít cost much. You might say it kept American families from starving.

Then came World War II, when American GIís ate PB&J when they were in Europe.

After the soldiers got home, they bought packaged bread along with jelly and peanut butter in stores. Ever since then, the sandwiches have been an American tradition.

The average American kid will eat 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before they graduate from high school. But itís not just for kids! Former president George W. Bushís favorite sandwich was PB&J.

The biggest peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the world was made in Peanut, Pennsylvania in 1993. 40 feet long, 50 pounds of jelly, and 150 pounds of peanut butter. Think you couldíve eaten that?

Whenever you eat PB&J, you get protein, B vitamins, high energy from the peanut butter, and a fruit serving from the jelly. Add a glass of milk, and youíve got calcium too. It will keep your stomach filled (but youíd better not eat a 40 foot one). Stick with one sandwich and use wheat bread for fiber and grains.

The sandwich is great for kids and grownups everywhere on hot summer days, after school, during a war, and even in the White House.










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