Childhood Treat: Peanut Butter and Molasses

A week or two ago I had a conversation with someone about food, and she mentioned (for contextual reasons I no longer remember) Amish cooking in Indiana. Among the foods she described was peanut butter sweetened with molasses and served on brown bread. 

This was described as something of a poor man’s lunch in our conversation, but I was taken immediately back to certain childhood lunches made for me by my grandmother: peanut butter and molasses sandwiches.

I’ve written about some of the food traditions from my Pennsylvania Dutch childhood, but I had completely forgotten about this until it came up in that conversation. 

Today I finally recreated one for lunch, and it was every bit as delicious as I remembered it being. Lest you scoff, I would point out that my grandmother served me this sandwich for the first time while explaining that she could never figure out what kids liked about peanut butter and jelly, a combination she described as “disgusting."

Anyway, the texture is a lot like peanut butter with honey, but the flavor is so much better. The molasses adds a richness that tastes like Christmas to me — another favorite family recipe is for soft molasses cookies that are so, so good.

If you grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania, did you ever eat peanut butter with molasses? 


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