Why Southerners Love the Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise Combination
Some people like it with the crust off. Others want it cut diagonally or straight across. But no matter how you slice it, everyone loves a good peanut butter sandwich. Some people, however, like it with a little somethin' somethin' added to it: Thick, creamy, tangy mayonnaise.
Yes, that's right, there are people in this world who really do love a peanut butter sandwich smothered with Hellman's or Duke's. And those people are likely from the South.
The world at large first caught wind of the decades-old Southern culinary trend when it hit Twitter just a few months ago. Needless to say, the reaction was more than a bit divided.
According to Garden & Gun, the recipe likely started sometime in the 1930s out of pure economic necessity when both money for groceries and groceries themselves were scarce.
"It's what people had on hand, whether it was in the Depression or just a day when you're a little shy on groceries," Sheri Castle, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based Southern food writer and cookbook author told HuffPost. "You make a sandwich out of what you have. Then people started making them on purpose, and then they fed them to other people. That's how things spread."
From there, she theorized, people simply began to love the dish.
"One of the things about Southern cooking, if we can call sandwich assemblage cooking, is it tends to be more of a universal concept than a universal recipe," Castle added. "People have their ways that are very strong within their family and their community, and I think flavor combinations are part of that.
Erin Hatcher, director of marketing for the C.F. Sauer Company, which happens to make the Southern favorite Dukes Mayonaise, also backed up Hill on the claim that the trend started in economically tough times.
"Peanut butter, bananas, mayonnaise and bread filled hungry tummies when meat was lacking, so it was a way of getting protein, fat and some carbs," she told HuffPost.
So what exactly does it taste like?
"I'm not going to do it justice, because it is — I don't know if I'd say it's great — but it's a pretty good sandwich," Burns Sullivan, a sous chef at Farm in Bluffton, South Carolina told HuffPost. "It's like a sour peanut butter. The lettuce is there purely for texture, and it sticks to the roof of your mouth, anyway. It doesn't make it sound very tasty, but, I promise, it's decent."
If you want to taste test it for yourself and for some reason need a recipe All Recipes has you covered. Just make sure it's creamy, not crunchy peanut butter. The roof of your mouth will thank us for that tip later.