Saturday, July 24, 2021

What Happened to Peanut Butter and Jelly?

 From JSTOR Daily:

There was a time when peanut butter and jelly, spread generously on two simple slices of bread, was a quintessential American meal. But sometimes a great rise can also mean a great fall. And the mighty PB&J has fallen. By the twenty-first century, historian Steve Estes writes, “the PB&J had gone from a symbol of doting mothers and idyllic childhood to a marker of negligent parenting and unhealthy kids.” What took the sandwich from iconic to outdated?

The PB&J was at its peak in the second half of the twentieth century. This was due to a few factors, Estes argues. Because you could take it anywhere, it was a bridge between public and private life: “The sandwich symbolized ‘home,’ but it was just as often eaten outside of the house” on picnics, camping trips, and school cafeterias. It also connected generations—both adults and kids enjoyed it. Lastly, it bridged economic gaps as “a staple of the working class and much of the country during times of economic hardship…. [A]ll classes of Americans munched on PB&Js.” (Read more.)


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