The marriage of peanut butter and jelly seems like a timeless one. Because Tuesday, April 2, is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day, it seems as good a time as any to celebrate the culinary combination, which most Americans seem to love (for the record: I'm not one of them).
I refuse to believe that anyone invented the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I mean, humans have been spreading things on bread - from yak butter to Vegemite - for as long as there has been bread. The first recorded reference to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich dates back to a 1901 article written by Julia Davis Chandler, a popular food writer in the early 20th century who frequently penned articles about sandwiches, including a paean to "Danish tea sandwiches" (egg and anchovy, veal with pickled cucumber, beef with horseradish). Chandler isn't credited with "inventing" the peanut butter and jelly combo, but she may have helped popularize it. After all, jelly on bread (either fresh or toasted) had been around since the Middle Ages. The creamy spread of ground peanuts - housewives were encouraged to use their meat grinders - was featured in numerous cooking articles around 1896.
A longtime staple on children's menus in Kansas City, it's a featured sandwich at the Crayola Cafe in Crown Center.