Is there a reason why, at least in the US, that:

1) on dry bread, we typically eat peanut butter AND jelly, not one or the other;

2) but on toast, we typically eat either peanut butter OR jelly, not both?

  • 1
    Must be your family or region. The straight up PB or J sandwich is not uncommon at my house. Practically speaking, PB&J on toast is much messier than PB or J on toast, with the jelly sliding off the warmed peanut butter in the open-face format. Seems like a somewhat low-quality/verging on off-topic question. – Ecnerwal Mar 25 '15 at 1:50
  • Um... where did that come from? I grew up eating plain PB sandwiches with no jelly... untoasted. – Catija Mar 25 '15 at 5:14
  • @Catija, how did you deal with mouth weld? Whenever I've had PB on untoasted bread it's taken extreme measured to get my mouth open again. – GdD Mar 25 '15 at 10:21
  • @GdD Using a more robust bread (e.g. whole wheat instead of white, or simply thicker slices) tends to make an untoasted peanut butter sandwich easier to eat. – Erica Mar 25 '15 at 12:48
  • 1
    Not sure what makes this a “low-quality” question. The history of peanut butter in the US is entangled with its development as a profitable commercial crop. Likewise, it would not surprise me to hear that PB&J sandwiches were invented or at least promoted by a business that had PB or J interests (which accounts for many other dietary habits in the US). Hence the question. – Matthew Butterick Mar 25 '15 at 20:02

The answer is mostly just "it's tradition", as with most questions like this.

I do think the pattern you've described isn't quite the actual one. What really happens is that we tend to eat peanut butter and jelly on sandwiches, and put one or the other on single slices of bread, because with a sandwich you can spread one thing on each half and put them together, but with a single slice of bread it's messy. Sandwiches might be on toasted bread, though - untoasted is common and easier but plenty of people like toasted bread for sandwiches. Similarly, there are certainly lazy people out there who'll just spread something on a slice of untoasted bread.

Beyond that, it's just what we do.

|improve this answer|||||

People eat one or the other because they only eat them without cheese and it also depends on the time of day.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 2
    ...what does cheese have to do with it? And yes, people eat toast for breakfast and PB&J for lunch, sure - the question is why. – Cascabel Apr 1 '15 at 23:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.