11 things you didn't know about peanut butter & jelly

Peanut butter and jelly
Dan Gentile
Dan Gentile

It's peanut butter jelly time (once you get to #8 on this list)! That's just one of many seriously nutty facts about the PB&J. From its historical origins to presidential favoritism to this one time it caused a guy to pull a knife on his own brother, here are 11 things you didn't know about the 26th best sandwich of all-time.

Peanut butter and jelly
Flickr/Shawn Carpenter

1. The first written reference was in 1901
From the Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics: "For variety, some day try making little sandwiches, or bread fingers (!), or three very thin layers of bread and two of filling, one of peanut paste, whatever brand you prefer (JIF!), and currant or crab-apple jelly (YES!) for the other."

military rations
US Army, Signal Corps

2. They fed the troops
According to the Peanut Board (not to be confused with the peanut gallery, who presumably would make fun of the people on the Peanut Board) peanut butter and jelly were staples in military rations during WWII, and the returning G.I.s helped popularize the sandwich.


3. They used to be for rich people
Before the commercialization of the peanut industry in the early 1900s, the cost of peanuts was high. According to Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea, it was eaten in sandwiches with pimento cheese or meat at fancy New York City tearooms where they don't read the Boston Cooking School Magazine.

kid with pbj
Flickr/Eddy Pula

4. The average American will eat 1500 PB&Js before they turn 18
The study was performed by Prepared Foods, which is both the name of a publication and the section of your grocery store with pasta salad.

sliced bread
Flickr/Matt Burns

5. Bread slicing technology made it popular
The Illustrious History also notes that with the invention of packaged, sliced bread (!) in the '20s, kids were now able to safely make their own sandwiches, thus skyrocketing PB&J's popularity.


6. Smuckers owns the copyright to no crusts
They bought the patent from a pair of entrepreneurs who piloted it in the school system as the Incredible Uncrustables. Smuckers then packaged the crustless sandwich to give it a longer half-life, and sued anyone who copied them. And lost.

PB&J Burger

7. It's usually very healthy
According to Livestrong, a regular ol' PB&J offers 27% of your daily fat and 22% of your calories. Livestrong has no comment on this deep-fried PB&J bun monstrosity from Philly's PYT.

peanut butter jelly time
Albino Black Sheep

Know Your Meme has a very thorough synopsis of the evolution of PBJT, a beloved/ despised flash animation (created in 2002 by RalphWiggum and Comrade Flynn) that was paired with an accompanying song from the the Buckwheat Boyz. How sad that absolutely no one involved with this project wanted to use their real name.

George W. Bush
White House photo by Eric Draper

9. It was President George W. Bush's favorite sandwich
In 2000, he admitted to Oprah that he loved them and then jumped up and down on her couch.

peanut butter sandwich
Flickr/Matias Garabedian

10. Avoiding a soggy PB&J is as easy as more PB
Just spread the peanut butter on both sides of the bread, and you've got yourself a less soggy sammie, says Lifehacker.

knife in peanut butter
Dan Gentile

11. The sandwich can cause someone to pull a knife on their brother
Fox News reports that an Iowa man pulled a knife on his brother because he was eating too many peanut butter sandwiches. He ate three at once, then an hour later ate a fourth. The guy might've had a point.

Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food/drink team who recently purchased a very nice toaster oven and is excited about exploring the world of crispy reheated food. He also enjoys hating mustard. Follow him to pots of gold/Twitter at @Dannosphere.