I honestly cannot remember eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I was a kid. I am sure that I did... I just don't remember it. Well, except that a lot of the peanut butter we got was from my grandmother getting free government goods. The government wanted to make sure the old people (who qualified) were getting proper nutrients into their bodies. Generous Nai-Nai that I had, she gave us her peanut butter. That's all I remember.
However, I will tell you about my most recent and probably my fondest memories of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They occurred during my time as a track and fielder at Orange Coast College. GO PIRATES! Coach Fier aka Mama Fier was really good about keeping our protein and carbohydrate levels up during track meets. He (and the long distance runners) made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as well as peanut butter and honey sandwiches the day prior to a track meet.
I am not sure if it's because you're waiting around all day for your event(s) or if you're starving or just bored or... whatever, but, Coach Fier's sandwiches always rocked. I am brought back to these memories today because this morning in my human nutrition class, my professor, Dr. Tim Bradley, had to justify the combination of peanuts and bread as a good nutritional combo.
Here's the lowdown: grains lack in certain essential amino acids that legumes have. And likewise, legumes lack in certain essential amino acids that grains contain. So, it makes sense that eating legumes and grains together will help maintain a balanced diet of giving you the nutrients that you need. But you also need veggies, fruits, meats, dairy... there is a reason for the food pyramid, you know! I mean, I can totally justify vegetarian diets but this is not the post for it :-)
Anyway, we did discuss the fact that a peanut butter sandwich is a good source of protein and fat and fairly cheap to make. Before you freak out about the fat, it is not terribly bad for you, especially if you are a poor person who cannot afford much else. You also receive niacin, folate, and thiamin not only from the peanut butter, but also from the bread. I would recommend whole-grain bread, peanut butter, and even jelly to get some vitamins in there. It's great for the growing child as well as the active athlete on a long day at a track meet :-)
I decided to make a PB & J today when I got home from school just because I felt a little nostalgic. My personal favorites are Knott's Seedless Strawberry Jam and Welch's Concord Grape Jelly with some Skippy Peanut Butter (creamy). Of course, it's one fruit or the other + the peanut butter for me. Never do I mix the two. In the future, I think that I will try to make my own peanut butter because I was reading the ingredients in my Skippy PB and it was 1) roasted peanuts 2) sugar, then 3) partially hydrogenated oils. I'm not too keen on 2 and 3... :-(
Also, try a peanut butter and honey sandwich if you have not before. It's quite unique and tasty! Time for you to go down memory lane, don't you think?