Friday, February 5, 2010

The building blocks of childhood

They aren't Legos or Lincoln Logs.

If you were to build a child from scratch, you wouldn't need plastic or silicone or wood or joint compound. You need peanut butter and jelly, the hydrogen and oxygen of kid-dom, the substances that make up the majority of all rugrats, the way water covers most of the Earth. (And in my experience, peanut butter and jelly covers most of the children I know, so that's a good analogy in more ways than one.)

If you can’t get a kid to eat PB&J, you’ve got a kid that won’t eat anything. A kid that will sneer at macaroni and cheese, tacos, hot dogs, hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches will still gratefully gobble up peanut butter and jelly.

That is not to say that there aren’t concessions to be made. I have one nephew who demands strawberry jam for his sandwiches. The other wants “the purple stuff,” but then again, sometimes he slaps on cheese and ketchup, too, the little freak. My niece wants whatever I can convince her Hannah Montana would eat on a peanut butter sandwich. None of them have any interest in my chunky peanut butter and apple jelly on wheat toast, but that’s just fine with me. I can still get my son to indulge in interesting jams, as long as there is plenty of peanut butter that he can ultimately rub in his hair. What can I say? He's a connoisseur.

1 pizza crust

1 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. cream cheese

¼ c. brown sugar

¾ c. strawberry jam

1 c. sweetened whipped cream

Optional: Teddy Grahams and gummy bears

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes, until just starting to brown. Cool.

Beat peanut butter with cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Spread over crust. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat jam in microwave for 10 seconds, until just slightly loosened. Spread evenly over peanut butter layer. Chill.

Place whipped cream in a piping bag, or just a plastic zipper bag with a corner cut. Pipe cream in a decorative pattern around the edge. Garnish with Teddy Grahams and gummy bears. Slice and serve.

Variation: Super-easy PB&J – After toasting crust, spread with ¾ c. peanut butter. Cool. Using a squeeze-top bottle of grape jelly, let the kids squirt on a funky jelly pattern. Slice and serve.

Sidebar box: Shell Game – Peanuts aren’t actually nuts. They’re legumes, like beans or lentils. According to leading peanut butter producer Skippy, three jars of the tasty spread are sold every single second, totaling about 90 million jars a year. It takes 850 peanuts to make one 18-ounce jar of peanut butter, and most of those come from Georgia, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma.


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  2. I love your blog! I never knew pizza could be done so many different ways. btw I'm 42 and still love PB&J

  3. I found your blog through Top Mommy Blogs. What an interesting concept for feeding your children! I can't wait to look around a bit more. Have a great weekend!