Peanut butter and Vidalia onions and other strange sandwich delights
August 16th, 2011
10:30 AM ET
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If you see my colleague Jo Parker striding toward you with a jar of peanut butter - beware. Chances are, she's got a Vidalia onion hidden somewhere on her person, and she's gonna try to make you eat these things together on bread.

She means well, and she's just trying to spread the love of a childhood favorite. As Jo wrote to me, "The cool, crunchy sweetness of Vidalias pairs terrifically with the peanuttiness. Smooth or crunchy – up to you. I remember eating these as a girl in Illinois, but I really don’t know the sandwich’s pedigree."

Now, most people would be content to enjoy their idiosyncratic creation behind closed doors. A strange sandwich is a private pleasure, borne of tradition, unsupervised youthful experimentation, between-paycheck thrift or, let's face it, coming home wicked hammered and having the wherewithal the next morning to recall an effective combination of ingredients.

Over the years, my friends, classmates and colleagues have professed affection for Tang powder on cream cheese, water chestnuts with mayonnaise, bologna and marshmallow fluff, each duo lovingly swaddled between slices of store-bought bread. Perhaps if its creator achieves Elvis Presley-level fame, one of these unholy mash-ups will rise to grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich level ubiquity and appear on kitschy restaurant menus across the nation, but I doubt it.

These are not sandwiches that are served to unsuspecting guests at dinner parties, or even shared between bedfellows. They are perhaps admitted to and laughed about amongst friends, but the enjoyment is almost inevitably a solitary one - if not swaddled in the semi-dark of a midnight kitchen, then at a table, surrounded by loved ones who are openly, if often affectionately, mocking your culinary quirks.

If you're brave enough to admit to your likings in public, you will become an anecdote. "My college roommate used to eat...my Dad always used to have this nasty...I dated this guy who used to fix himself..."

Jo Parker fears not this judgment. Her conviction holds firm. She claims, "I’ve been at parties where peanut butter combinations have been discussed. When I bring up PBnO, the reactions are predictable. Someone will make a gagging sound. Someone will beg me to tell them I’m not serious."

She puts her money where the naysayers mouths are. "And usually there is one brave person who will say, 'I don’t think so, but maybe I’d try it.' And if the host has the magic ingredient - real Vidalias - I have been known to raid a pantry for peanut butter and bread and make samples on the spot. Hors d’oeuvres, if you will. Most try a bite, and I usually get at least one convert."

Keep spreading the gospel of the PBnO, Jo Parker. There's someone out there who is bound to think it's nutty enough to work.

Please share your strangest sandwich favorites in the comments below.

Previously - The best sandwich in the universe – at least for the month of August



soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. Sea

    Smooth Jif on one slice, grape jelly on the other with a thin spread of miracle whip on top of the jelly. Delicious.

    April 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
    • Scott

      Try countering w/peanut butter, mustard, bologna,cheese and pickle.

      April 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • Of Poo

      Eat that and you won't stop crapping for a week.

      April 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
  2. Scott

    Sesame Ezekiel Bread, mustard, peanut butter, bologna, cheese, sliced pickles, lettuce and tomato.

    August 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  3. Marc

    I like PB & tuna sandwiches (PB&T). I don't like mayo, and I needed something to act as an adherent for the tuna to stay on the bread; PB works well and the taste is good. Just spread PB on bread, drain the water from the tuna, & smush it onto the PB-covered bread. It makes a great sandwich.

    September 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  4. Jessica in Noblesville

    Jiff smooth peanut butter on toasted onion bagel, topped with crispy bacon ... yum ... pass the toothbrush

    August 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  5. Kate

    I thought everyone ate this until I got to college:
    Peanut Butter, Bread and Butter Pickles, Bacon on toasted wheat bread.

    August 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  6. AB

    Grilled cheese with jelly (any type) spread on top after it comes off the grill.
    Cream cheese mixed with chopped black olives thickly spread on wheat bread. This is the best.

    August 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  7. Sam

    Peanut butter and anything, absolutely anything!

    August 18, 2011 at 4:31 am |
  8. Jen

    My husband eats peanut butter, lettuce, and miracle whip. He's also been trying to get me to eat peanut butter and pickle for years!

    August 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
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