The Peanut Butter and Jelly Manifesto


As a child, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches always led to disappointment- they were the second rate lunches my mom made when she wasn’t up to making a good lunch. So for a long while in my life, PB&J was a downer.

But in adulthood, I have been reminded over and over of the versatility and integrity of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich . And yet, we all continue to treat it as a culinary invalid. Well I will defend the honor of the PB&J. (A guy has to be indignant about something, right?) And so, today, I put forward my Peanut Butter and Jelly Manifesto, the mission of which is to reclaim for Peanut Butter and Jelly the respect it deserves.


First of all, and let’s get this out of the way, a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich is not a suitable lunch or dinner entrée.

Unless you’re nine years old, you should know better. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is composed almost entirely of carbohydrates, and about 60% processed sugar. (To be fair, I made this statistic up.) If you’re eating one of these bad boys for lunch, or God forbid, for dinner, then you are depriving yourself of most of the essential nutrients necessary to keep you alive past age 48. (Another arbitrary number.) There should be a clear distinction, both in flavor profile and in sugar content, between a dessert and a main course. PB&J is made of a nut, a fruit, and bread. It is a dessert! It’s definitely a dessert!  Unquestionably! So why would we EVER eat it as a meal?

That said, a peanut butter and jelly is a perfectly acceptable breakfast food. Why breakfast, but not dinner? Because breakfast has already been corrupted by dessert foods masquerading as suitable breakfast alternatives. Doughnuts, Pop Tarts, waffles, most muffins—these things are just as sweet and just as nutritionally vacant as any dessert. I’m not saying it’s right, but breakfast and dessert are the same meal now. That’s reality. So, compared to the nuclear waste most people eat for breakfast, a PB&J is a superfood.

This leads me to a larger point: treat the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with some respect. That means putting some thought into ingredients. I know some of you miscreants have nostalgic ties to white bread, but that gluey garbage belongs nowhere near your sandwich, or your mouth. Bread is the foundation on which the sandwich is built, and when your foundation is made of cheap, powdery white garbage, your sandwich is doomed from the start. There is more high fructose corn syrup in two slices of white bread than you’ll find in a single serving of Coca Cola. (Another fabricated statistic. This is likely untrue.) Get some bread whose primary characteristic isn’t its color—and that’s pretty much any other bread.

By the same token, we must take a long and hard look at jelly. “Jelly” is an unrecognizable purple slime made from a little bit of grape juice and a lot of stuff you can’t pronounce. Jelly is to fruit as Astroturf is to Kentucky Blue Grass. As far as I’m concerned, the “J” in “PB&J” stands for JAM. Jam is recognizable— you can see the fruit in it. It has texture, and character. There’s a landscape to jam. Why anyone would ever prefer jelly is, frankly, a preposterous, disgusting mystery.

(You’ll notice I have omitted Peanut Butter from the Manifesto. This is because Peanut Butter is perfect. Pick any peanut butter, and go with it. You can’t lose.)

In review: 1. PB&J is not an entreé. 2. PB&J is great for breakfast, for a snack, or as a dessert. 3. White Bread is for losers. Buy real bread. 4. Throw away your jelly. Jelly is gross. 5. I’m making up statistics, because this is the Internet! 6. Eat more Peanut Butter and Jelly. It’s delicious.