Peanut butter is one of the quintessential American food staples, so much so that the average American supposedly consumes a 125 foot high stack of these sandwiches by the time they graduate high school.
I just found out that Jif is sponsoring a contest for the most creative peanut butter sandwich submitted by 6-12 year olds. They’ve already narrowed down the list from hundreds of entries to the 10 finalists. Online voting is open to the public from Jan 14, 2008 – Feb 11, 2008.
“We created this contest to provide parents with an activity that helps foster creativity in their children. Five years and thousands of entries later, we are amazed and excited that children are still coming up with new recipes,” said Maribeth Badertscher (Director of Corporate Communications, The J.M. Smucker Company). “We wish all the Online Finalists the best of luck. Regardless of the outcome, every child’s recipe is a winner.”
I couldn’t wait to see what new combinations these kids created. Peanut butter on its own is too gluey, and needs another flavor to complement it as well as making it easier to eat. However, the king in Shel Silverstein’s poem below would disagree.
Peanut-Butter Sandwich by Shel Silverstein (1932-1999)
I’ll sing you a story of a silly young king
Who played with the world at the end of a string,
But he only loved one single thing —
And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.
His scepter and his royal gowns,
His regal throne and golden crowns
Were brown and sticky from the mounds
And drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.
His subjects all were silly fools
For he had passed a royal rule
That all that they could learn in school
Was how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.
He would not eat his sovereign steak,
He scorned his soup and kingly cake,
And told his courtly cook to bake
An extra-sticky peanut-butter sandwich.
And then one day he took a bite
And started chewing with delight,
But found his mouth was stuck quite tight
From that last bite of peanut-butter sandwich.
His brother pulled, his sister pried,
The wizard pushed, his mother cried,
“My boy’s committed suicide
From eating his last peanut-butter sandwich!”
The dentist came, and the royal doc.
The royal plumber banged and knocked,
But still those jaws stayed tightly locked.
Oh darn that sticky peanut-butter sandwich!
The carpenter, he tried with pliers,
The telephone man tried with wires,
The firemen, they tried with fire,
But couldn’t melt that peanut-butter sandwich.
With ropes and pulleys, drills and coil,
With steam and lubricating oil —
For twenty years of tears and toil —
They fought that awful peanut-butter sandwich.
Then all his royal subjects came.
They hooked his jaws with grapplin’ chains
And pulled both ways with might and main
Against that stubborn peanut-butter sandwich.
Each man and woman, girl and boy
Put down their ploughs and pots and toys
And pulled until kerack! Oh, joy —
They broke right through that peanut-butter sandwich.
A puff of dust, a screech, a squeak —
The king’s jaw opened with a creak.
And then in voice so faint and weak —
The first words that they heard him speak
Were, “How about a peanut-butter sandwich?”
Be sure to check out this year’s finalists, as well as prior winners on the JIF site for inspired versions of the childhood classic. Below are some of my favorites from various sources:
- PB&J sushi. Last year’s grand prize winner. Consisting of peanut butter, strawberry cream cheese and fruit rolled in a crepe and served sushi style. Pretzel rods function as chopsticks, and chocolate yogurt replaces soy sauce.
PB&J butterfly. One of this year’s finalists. Pancakes toped with peanut butter, fruit, cereal and cherry licorice.
- PB&J blossoms. These cute sandwiches made with peanut butter and jelly (or cream cheese and jelly, or any other fillings) are perfect for parties, lunch boxes, or snacks.
- PB&J rocking rainbow. Whole wheat pita spread with peanut butter and strawberry jam, and then topped with fresh fruit arranged like a rainbow.
The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $25,000 scholarship fund and a JIF gift basket. Each of the four runners-up will also receive a $2,500 scholarship fund and a JIF gift basket. For these finalists, all the time they’ve spent eating the standard sandwich could be viewed as college prep. Don’t forget to vote here.