Over time my tastes have changed and that pbj has gone through several modifications over the years. At one point I was making ezekiel bread; grinding the grains and legumes myself to make the flour before I baked the bread. This deliciously robust-flavored bread happens to make a fabulous, filling choice. I also, over time, lowered the amount of sugar, salt, and added fat in my peanut butter by making different choices. Then, eventually, I switched altogether and began to use fresh ground almond butter from the machine at my grocery store. I find it amusing that although I thought the fresh ground peanut butter of my youth was not that good, I've come full circle and now love the crunchiness and true flavor of fresh ground nut butter. And while I love jam it's usually either handmade or a purchase that is whole fruit, no added sugar or other chemical ingredients. But even that has now changed and I often find myself mashing up fresh berries with a tiny drizzle of honey as the "jelly" in my sandwich.
These days, due to digestive challenges, I find I do better avoiding gluten and so, unable to, as yet, make a good gluten free ezekiel-style bread I am using a brown rice bread which is very satisfying. But I've changed the sandwich again and now often have it open face using one slice of bread, some almond butter (just almonds, nothing else), a few mashed berries, that drizzle of honey and it's just as satisfying and comforting as the pbj of my youth.
I suspect that because the changes were gradual and because they were choices that I made, this seems perfectly reasonable to me. I'm equally certain that if I had abruptly changed from that fluffy air bread, sugar-laden, oily peanut butter, and over-processed grape jelly to today's version I would not have been a happy camper. While I know it's not the sandwich of my youth, it's what I reach for when I want that kind of food.
Our food is what we think of it and how we see those emotional connections and associations. What have you changed and yet it's still the same?
photo: Renee Comet