The Story Of Why Peanut Butter And Pickle Sandwiches Are So Popular

By lgentile - July 15, 2019

Do you have a secret meal or snack that you love to chow down on that is so weird and sounds so disgusting that you feel like you have to keep it all to yourself? It’s your weird little secret that nobody in your life needs to know about? You know that your friends will be disgusted by your love of carrots dipped in mayonnaise or your obsession of pizza dipped in soda, so why even bother telling them about it? Hey! Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! 

Well, don’t you worry about a thing because everyone has got a guilty pleasure that is so strange and so bizarre that they would only do it behind closed doors. Yes, we are still talking about food, people. One meal in general will make you look at both peanut butter and pickles in a whole new way. Just hear us out before you judge.

Peanut Butter And Co. 


Before it closed in 2016, Peanut Butter & Co. was a small sandwich shop in Greenwich Village in New York City. 

There you could find delicious sandwiches that were smothered in peanut butter and filled with ooey gooey goodness.

You could order sandwiches like the Mighty Maple with bacon or perhaps a spicy peanut butter with chicken and pineapple jam. Damn! That sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Savory And Sweet 


They had both savory and sweet sandwiches that would make your mouth water and leave you begging for more. 

There was one sandwich that they offered though, that wasn’t like the rest of the items on the menu. 

No, it wasn’t the fluffernutter or the strawberry shortcake peanut sandwich, but boy do those sound amazing. Yum yum!

No, it was a sandwich much weirder than those options… 

The Pregnant Lady


We are talking about what Peanut Butter & Co called the Pregnant Lady, a peanut butter sandwich topped with bread and butter pickles. 

Excuse me what? That’s right. Read it again. Peanut butter with bread and butter pickles. And people not only ordered it, but they loved it. 

And you may be wondering how they would come up with such a bizarre combo. Well, we are about to tell you.

An Insane Idea 


While it sounds like an insane idea to put peanut butter and pickles together, Peanut Butter and Co. didn’t actually invent the combo for the sandwich. 

The peanut butter & pickle sandwich got its start during the Great Depression when Americans were cutting corners any way that they could. 

Both pickles and peanut butter were cheap and they were also available so people thought, why not?

 Desperate Times


Desperate times call for desperate measures as they say and suddenly the peanut butter and pickle sandwiches became a thing. 

You could find them and order them at lunch counters and they were popular in Depression-era cookbooks. 

We don’t quite understand why they didn’t just eat the peanut butter on the bread alone, but who are we to judge? (See: pizza dipped in soda.)

Normal At The Time


While the combination was pretty normal at that time, the combination is now seen by many as weird and it is often met with disgust. 

Go ahead and make a peanut butter and pickle sandwich for a friend or loved one and see how it goes. They may not even let you make it! 

But this didn’t stop Lee Zalben, founder and president of Peanut Butter & Co. from slinging those sandwiches with success. 

The Origin Story 


Lee Zalben founded Peanut Butter & Co. in 1998 and while his shop has since closed, you can still buy all of his ten different peanut butters online

Years ago, when the shop was still open in New York City, a pregnant woman came into the store for a treat. 

She asked for a kind of sandwich that he had never heard before but that didn’t stop him from giving her request a try.

She Had A Craving


The pregnant woman was two weeks past due and she said she had a craving for a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. 

“I’d never heard of it. But we like to think we can take care of anyone’s peanut butter craving.” Zalben shared with the NYTimes

“So I ran to the corner store and bought a jar of pickles. I made two sandwiches, one for her and one for me. That was all it took.”

He Liked The Combo! 


He not only liked the combination but he also couldn’t stop thinking about it and couldn’t get it out of his head. 

“The first time I tried one, I had this incredible sense of tasting something really new for the first time,” Zalben said. 

“I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had one every day for a week.” Wait, do we need to try one of these?

 How To Make The Perfect Sandwich 


And maybe after hearing all the hype you feel like you need to try one for yourself before you judge too harshly. 

So, how exactly do you make the perfect peanut butter and pickle sandwich? First let’s start with kinds of the pickles. 

According to Zalben, the best pickles to use on a PB&P are bread & butter. If sweet isn’t you thing, don’t worry about it. 

Other Pickle Options 


And while some love the sweetness of the bread and butter pickles, others stick to Claussen dill pickles. 

They love the contrast of the vinegar taste and the sweet and salty peanut butter so go ahead and try both and see what you like better! 

You can also try slicing up whole pickles nice and thin or others prefer cutting the pickles into circles. You’ll have to try different ways to see what tickles your pickle! Ha! 

Give It A Go 


And before you decide that none of those combinations are truly for you, here are a few ways to give it one last go. 

Try spreading the  peanut butter on a slice of bread and putting a spear right smack in the middle of the bread. 

Then fold the bread around the spear and eat it as you would eat a hotdog. Sounds weird but it may just do the trick.

Here Are Some Recipes To Try 


And if you still can’t get onboard with a peanut butter and pickle sandwich, maybe these recipes will change your mind. 

This treat, called Pregnant Pickles, are pickle coins that are fried up in peanut butter batter. Excuse me what?

Yes, that’s right. Peanut butter batter. CLICK HERE for the full recipe if you need to know how to make this like NOW.

Peanut Butter Pickle Pancakes


You can also try these Peanut Butter Pickle Pancakes made with a creamy and delicious peanut butter batter. 

You make pancakes as you would with the special batter and once they are ready to go you stack them up as per usual. 

Then you smother the pancakes in peanut butter instead of maple syrup and dice pickles to put on top and it is time to go to town.

 Pickle Ice Cream 


Or you can try some pickle ice cream with a crunchy peanut butter topping. We know this sounds insane, but hear us out. 

The base of the ice cream is a vanilla base mixed with sweet bread and butter pickle juice. Then a salty peanut butter sauce is added on top for some serious flavor overload! 

And look, if we haven’t convinced you that pickles and ice cream are a perfect combo, here are a few other weird combinations to try out…

Cream Cheese And Jelly 


Did your mom ever make you a cream cheese and jelly sandwich when you were growing up?

All the other kids at school had turkey and ham or a nice PB and J and you open your lunch box and are stuck with Jelly and cream cheese. What was that all about?

People were fascinated with cream cheese sandwiches in the 1920s and they would try all sorts of weird combinations with it. Cream cheese and jelly was one that stuck but you don’t see it much these days.

 Ice Cream And French Fries


When you were younger, did you ever dip your fries into a Wendy’s Frosty or a McFlurry?

Well, you aren’t alone. This combination takes salty and sweet to a whole new level and it’s beyond delicious. 

So much so that Coolhaus sells a pint of “Milkshake & Fries” ice cream that includes bits of fries, along with malt balls, blended into vanilla ice cream. Sign us up!

Coca-Cola and Chicken


Coke and chicken may sound like a refreshing combo but you may be thinking about drinking a cake while eating fried chicken. 

But we are talking about Cola chicken where you actually fry the chicken in Coca-Cola. 

This combo is so popular that Coca-Cola itself has a recipe for it on its website. It is made with three simple ingredients: chicken, cola and ketchup!

Apple Pie With Cheese On Top 


Sliced apples and cheese are a perfect combination, so why does apple pie topped with cheddar cheese sound so unbelievably disgusting?

According to Atlas Obscura, the tradition of adding cheese to apple pie seems to have originated in England, and it’s been going on for centuries. 

Now the cheddar-topped apple pie is more popular in dairy-producing regions like the Midwest and New England.

Ketchup And Ranch


And if you love ketchup and you can’t get enough of ranch, you don’t have to choose which one to choose next time you want to dip your fries into a sauce. 

Mixing ketchup and ranch is so popular these days that Heinz is now making bottled “Kranch.”

The dressing will be a perfect match for everything from fries to sandwiches to salads and you can always just make it yourself at home.