Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Have you learned anything new online lately?

I can honestly say I have.

When I recently read an article in the New York Times singing a song of peanut butter sandwiches featuring a novel (to me anyway) addition to the "and" list of filling ingredient options?  I couldn't wait to finish the article before I rushed to the pantry to assemble my own version.

No doubt you are already well acquainted with peanut butter and jelly.  You likely have your own favored go-to jam or jelly choice as well as "your" brand of peanut butter.  Unless you have a personal taste taboo, I'd be surprised to hear that you'd never sampled peanut butter and honey, or perhaps even some version of the semi-mythic Elvis sanctioned peanut butter and banana combos.

But this particular peanut butter add-on, this alliterative addition to the pantheon of Peanut Butter And _____s? This ingredient represented, for me at least, a bold new direction for the entire peanut butter and sandwich franchise.

Dwight Garner's "Peanut Butter Takes on an Unlikely Best Friend" extols the virtues, the relatively unsung siren song of a slightly offbeat combination: that of the Peanut Butter and Pickle sandwich.

Before I even hit the halfway mark of the article I simply had to try one for myself.  I stopped reading, headed into the kitchen and promptly assembled this:
A Creamy Peanut Butter and Hamburger Dill Chip Pickle Sandwich

And I gotta tell you - it was good, really, truly good.  I enjoyed it thoroughly although as I finished the article I discovered most people vastly prefer a bread-and-butter variety pickle to add a more expected element of sweetness to their peanut butter and pickle sammies.  Harrumph.

I had thrown together a peanut butter and dill pickle chip sandwich, reportedly off-putting to many, but not to me.  It took just the right approach to get my "everything we have around here for lunch is sooo boring" taste buds to sit up and pay close attention.  In that good way, I mean.

I suppose I'll try a sandwich with the more widely favored bread-and-butter pickles eventually. But for now?  I appreciate how the snappy crispness of a ripple cut dill pickle chip plays against the smooth texture of peanut butter spread on soft but grainy sandwich bread.  I am especially enjoying how the salty pickle brine works in concert with the creamy taste of peanuts, reminiscent of savory dishes I've prepared and enjoyed that include a peanut sauce as part of the flavor profile.

And let's face facts.  Once that bread-and-butter style pickle on peanut butter barrier is broken, there will be no reason not to try out bread-and-butter style pickled jalapeño slices with peanut butter as the natural nest step.  

I'm not in the predicting or the promising business when it comes to cultivating new tastes.  I realize that you like what you and I like what I like, no judgement, no possibility of error.  It is all and will always be a matter of personal preference, no more, no less.

Peanut butter and pickle sandwiches will never overtake the popularity of the more familiar combinations, but they do have a growing fan base, myself currently included.  You may decide you don't like the idea without ever tasting one, but I'm betting you don't have to guess.  I'm betting you have all the ingredients needed in your pantry right now.

Come on, admit it - aren't you the least little bit curious to try for yourself how the two tastes work out?  I highly advise you to be a little adventurous.  Step away from your computer, go into your kitchen right this minute, take out a piece of bread, cut it in half and make yourself a trial balloon of a peanut butter and pickle half-sandwich.  Take a bite, let the flavors dance around in your mouth a bit, and if you are so inclined, share your reactions in the comments section.  Good, bad or indifferent, I'm curious to hear what you think.  



Cat said...

Ha! You're funny and brave! Yes, I'm a culinary chicken about certain combinations and I can't even bring myself to try it. But I'm real glad the new combination made you so happy. I bet my husband would try it though. He sometimes puts apples and sweet relish in tuna. Blech. Personally, I'm a creamy peanut butter-banana with a drizzle of local honey on toast kind of girl.

TexasDeb said...

Cat that combination sounds delightful. And hmmm- it does sound like your husband would enjoy the peanut butter and pickle novelty at least enough to give it a try.

The question is - do you fix him the sandwich for a "surprise!" or tip him off ahead of time about such an adventure for his taste buds?

Linda/patchwork said...

You just never know what will work.

A hundred years ago, when Mr. P was in the army, we lived in Germany. One of the single guys from the base liked to come over and have me make him a peanut butter, mayonnaise and lettuce sandwich.

I have to say, I was never brave enough to try one.

I agree with Cat. But, I prefer crunchy peanut butter with honey on toast.

I might just have to try some pb on a pickle, though.

TexasDeb said...

Linda: I'm with you - I don't think I'd be all that interested in trying out pb mayo and lettuce my own self. It sure was nice of you to keep making them for that guy, however.

If you do try out peanut butter on a pickle let me know what you think. I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction honestly - I thought I'd try one bite and toss the rest.