"The totally not-gross snack you need in your mouth right now"
April 26, 2018 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Dwight Garner, an accomplished New York Times book critic, can count himself a member of the rarefied club of journalists whose writing has actually moved hearts and minds on a topic of great importance. In one 2012 article, he changed my life, intimately and permanently, with an ode to an object I’d never previously considered with the solemnity it deserves: the peanut butter and pickle sandwich. posted by Johnny Wallflower (46 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
posted by loquacious at 5:59 PM on April 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

My sister loved to make PB&Pickle sandwiches years ago when we were kids. I didn't get it then and I don't get it now, but more power to anyone who's into it I reckon.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:06 PM on April 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love PB&pickle sandwiches, started making them when I was a yougin' and heard that lame joke about pregnant folks craving them and thought "why not me too?" and life has been a tiny bit better ever since. If I hadn't eaten all of my PB and all of my pickles I'd make one right now but do it up like a grilled cheese.
posted by glip at 6:08 PM on April 26, 2018

Sweet gherkins, sliced (dill only if desperate). Crunchy, no-added-sugar peanut butter. Favorite bread. Perfection.
posted by ClingClang at 6:12 PM on April 26, 2018

I grew up with peanut butter and mayo sandwiches. PB and pickles sounds yummy.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:14 PM on April 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

No, the only snack you need right now is a peanut butter and salami sandwich with a thin coat of butter applied to your toasted bread of choice. Pickles are gross.
posted by repoman at 7:11 PM on April 26, 2018

I can sort of imagine the tastes going on, and that some people would like that combination, but there's no way I'm touching it. I will, however, respect it.
posted by rhizome at 7:15 PM on April 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

These are actually really great. Wickles make it even better.
posted by so fucking future at 7:19 PM on April 26, 2018

It is not pickles and PB but one of the strangest sandwiches I ever saw someone eat was the following made by an older lady who owned the house wife lived in before we were married - spongy white bread (think discounted Wonder bread), cheap store bought mayonnaise, drained tinned mandarin orange slices, a handful of Sugar Crisp cereal and a double sour dill pickle on the side.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:32 PM on April 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was introduced to peanut butter and pickle sandwiches by my mother, who was born in the mid-30s. My original intro was on white bread with Skippy peanut butter and dill pickles, sliced lengthwise.

I've evolved to Dave's Killer Bread, old fashioned peanut butter (preferably crunch, but not always possible in my house) and any kind of dill pickle. Divine! I haven't had it toasted, but will now need to try that.

I haven't converted any of my family. Barbarians!
posted by lhauser at 7:33 PM on April 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've decided to try pickles and peanut butter. I'd already eaten a significant dinner before reading the article so unfortunately tonight is not the night.

But I was particularly excited about the second link. I recently tried Bamba and was thrilled with its deliciousness. I doubt I can find it locally but I'm going to keep my eyes open for that and the other snacks mentioned in the article.
posted by bunderful at 7:50 PM on April 26, 2018

Oh man, so good. I used to make it on toast, open faced, with thin slices of pickle.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:56 PM on April 26, 2018

bunderful, if you have a Trader Joe's near you, they've started carrying Bamba in the last few months. It's got TJ branding, but it's the real, imported, thing.
posted by mhz at 8:07 PM on April 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Peanut butter and piccalilli has kept me alive for years. Try it. First one is free.
posted by Sparx at 8:08 PM on April 26, 2018

My life as an adult has been defined by the internet. In these several decades of adulthood, the internet has addressed many oddities that defined my childhood, but this article, to the best of my memory, is the first and only to cast illumination on a delicacy that to the best of my knowledge was shared only by certain members of my immediate family: the peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich. Except that in our case, existing in relative isolation in rural Oregon, we included bananas on ours. I don't recall any peers sharing interest in this dish. I'm fairly certain that it was my father who introduced us to it, although I have no idea how he stumbled upon it, seeing as how absolutely nobody we knew, except for one guy we knew who lived about a hundred miles away over the mountains, consumed these delicacies.

I thought we were alone in the universe. Turns out we were, but that there were a few other pockets of lone peanut butter and pickle sandwich eaters out there too.
posted by vverse23 at 8:29 PM on April 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Toast. Peanut butter. Sriracha. Green onions. With a fried egg on the side if it’s breakfast and not just not a snack.
posted by Grandysaur at 8:31 PM on April 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

A friend dips his raw carrots in peanut butter. He said he learned it from some Shakers he lived with.
posted by latkes at 9:57 PM on April 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

and now that I've RTFA.. I see she mentioned carrots and peanut butter as well
posted by latkes at 10:01 PM on April 26, 2018

Okay so the title of this post conjures something VERY DIFFERENT if you read it immediately after reading the post above it.

I'm grateful this article is about something as innocuous as PB and pickles, is what I'm saying.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:14 PM on April 26, 2018 [5 favorites]

When I was a tween I read a book that referenced the pb&pickle sandwich, I think it was M is for Malice by Sue Grafton (or at least one of the books in that series), and that sparked my curiosity so I made one to eat while reading it. The sandwich was not as bad as I'd thought it might be, but I couldn't quite bring myself to say it was good either. It was interesting. I wondered afterward if I'd ever get a craving for another one, but the following twenty years have been voluntarily pb&pickle sandwich-less.

Hot orange juice and popcorn submerged in milk, two more book foods, were far worse though.
posted by vegartanipla at 10:36 PM on April 26, 2018

Ants on a log 4 eva
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:16 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m absolutely going to try this soon. Peanut butter and pickles makes perfect sense to me, even though I would never have thought of it myself. However...

Was anyone else distracted by the fact that Christina Cauterucci* describes herself as a vegetarian in a context which makes it seem like she’s been for years, then later extols peanut butter and bacon sandwiches? This factoid seemed to me like one of those minor characters in movies that are much more interesting than any of the major characters.

* Please remember to credit writers in posts.
posted by Kattullus at 12:17 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Peanut butter does go with a lot of things. I don't think I'd make a PB&P for myself, but if somebody offered me half of theirs I think I'd try it. More so if it was on good, solid bread that looked like it had a gram of fiber or two in it.

Mom tells of the "creative" andwiches Grandpa would make for himself, even when the kids were having something else. (He got home from work earlier than Grandma, so until the older kids were accomplished enough to do it, Grandpa was the one who cooked everyday meals.) His favorite was bean and onion, with thick-cut onions and plenty of Frank's Red Hot Sauce.

That "pickles and ice cream" article was really interesting. It made me think of the movie Carefree, where Ginger Rogers is told by psychiatrist Fred Astaire to eat unusual food combinations before bed so she'll dream vividly. She ends up eating s seafood cocktail with whipped cream, a largish Welsh rarebit, lobster with gobs of mayonnaise, cucumbers in buttermilk, and strawberry shortcake.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:36 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Peanut butter and marmite. Just saying.
posted by AFII at 12:59 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Interesting… I was just looking at the dill pickles at the store yesterday, and now I regret not buying them. It seems like a great combination to me. I never liked PB and jam, preferring apple slices which are crunchy and a bit acidic. To me, it isn't a far jump to pickles.
posted by mumimor at 2:00 AM on April 27, 2018

I am a little skeptical. I’ve never tried one, but I did once discover that pickles are about the only food item made worse by Nutella. Since Nutella and peanut butter go together well, it seems like pickles and peanut butter shouldn’t.

We do have both pickles and peanut butter here though. Maybe it’s a good insomnia food?
posted by nat at 2:21 AM on April 27, 2018

No, no. You deep fry the battered pickles and put them on warm bread smeared with pb.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:37 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Once, before they sold their soul to the devil, Smithfield used to make a Virginia ham spread that incorporated peanuts. (This was back when Virginia hams were cured from hogs that were finished on peanuts. That went out in the '60s.) I don't know what they are doing now, but think a decent minced up country ham with a tad of peanut butter and some sweet gherkins would be good. (Yes, sweet gherkins, save the sour pickles for when there is no ham. And don't give me any mess, article-writer -- anybody that thinks sweetened Jif is peanut butter is deluded.)
posted by CCBC at 2:43 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Space Kitty at 4:31 AM on April 27, 2018

Reading context from article and comments...
Peanut butter and carrots isn't exotic. That's just standard 75% of the middle of the US country snacks.
posted by chasles at 4:34 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe my grandmother grew up in a different part of the depression from everyone else, but her weird sandwich was peanut butter and onion. You slice a yellow onion thin, but not so thin that there isn't any crunch left.
The savory of the peanut butter matches well with the sweet and the sulfury burn at the back of the nose from the onion.

We also had peanut butter and bacon sandwiches at some other point in my life. I found those to be interesting, but worse than merely being a sum of the parts. I'd rather eat peanut butter on toast with a side of bacon.
posted by Seamus at 6:20 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

see also: strawberry jam and bacon sandwiches
posted by poffin boffin at 7:26 AM on April 27, 2018

A few years ago I went to a Sue Grafton (RIP) book signing for Y is for Yesterday, and they had peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, Kinsey Millhone's favorite snack (other than burgers, I guess) on hand. I tried it there and ... yeah, it was actually good. If you use bread and butter pickles anyway, dill is...not my favorite. So I eat them off and on now.

On a related note, there were a few articles about eating pickles and Oreos. I tried it but wasn't that impressed. Might depend on what Oreo flavor you tried though: it worked better with the lemon ones than the peanut butter (irony) and red velvet flavors I had in the house.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:38 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

My wife's family makes peanut butter and pickle. They use dill and not sweet pickles. In my opinion it's adding salt to an already salty product and is a sub-par peanut butter offering. If you want the crunch of a dill pickle, then eat crunchy peanut butter. I already find most peanut butters to be salty, so I don't get much out of added salt.

I think bananas or jelly are much better- they make the peanut butter less sticky and more sweet. Sweet pickles on peanut butter is probably pretty close to banana or jelly. I get that.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:44 AM on April 27, 2018

Whoa, that is very weird about the vegetarian eating bacon thing. Maybe Christina Cauterucci is an only bacon vegetarian. I did appreciate her casual and contextually mentioning her female fiance. Times have changed and some of those little moments, where queer people get to just be people, are a big deal.
posted by latkes at 8:33 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sweet pickles on peanut butter is probably pretty close to banana or jelly.

Strongly disagree; please cancel my subscription to your newsletter.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:16 AM on April 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Whoa, that is very weird about the vegetarian eating bacon thing. Maybe Christina Cauterucci is an only bacon vegetarian.

There was a while (shortly after I became a vegetarian) when I described myself as an "Ovo-lacto-baco vegetarian."

Peanutbutter & dill pickle sandwiches are delicious. Sweet pickles are not nearly as good.

One night when I was pregnant I was getting myself a serving of ice cream and suddenly thought "I bet this would be really good with pickles!" I didn't try it, though.
posted by belladonna at 6:17 PM on April 27, 2018

Aren't Shakers extinct?

I tried the PBP and it was really very good.
posted by bunderful at 6:20 PM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Shakers are almost extinct: As of 2017, the remaining active Shaker community in the United States, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine, has two members: Brother Arnold Hadd and Sister June Carpenter. Sister Frances Carr died on January 2, 2017.
posted by rhizome at 9:08 PM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Peanut butter and pickle sandwich reminds me a little bit of cold noodles with sesame sauce and sliced cucumbers

Also, for PBP sandwiches, could you sub-in relish for pickles?
posted by FJT at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

That thought had occurred to me as an evolutionary step, and I hate you for retriggering my gag reflex.
posted by rhizome at 1:20 PM on April 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Chutney and PB is excellent!
posted by CCBC at 11:18 PM on April 28, 2018

oh my god an enormous messy mango chutney and peanut butter sandwich, i demand this immediately, i will summon one with the power of my mind
posted by poffin boffin at 8:18 AM on April 29, 2018

And you can add some cheddar! Sort of ploughman's lunch with PB.
posted by CCBC at 11:51 PM on April 29, 2018

So I finally made one. It was good, but a bit milder than I prefer (that may because the peanut butter and pickles were both mild varieties), so I added a bit of dijon mustard and it was damned great. But I'll try to see if I can find more flavorful pickles here in Finland.
posted by Kattullus at 5:08 AM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Last week, I was out of jelly but didn't want to go to the store. I had a can of chunky cranberry sauce in the cupboard that I didn't use at Thanksgiving, so I used that instead. Dee-licious.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:23 AM on April 30, 2018

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