I wish I could say I learned of this novel take on a peanut butter sandwich while reading some serious book about Ernest Hemingway. But alas, I read about it in Trader Joe’s August 2019 Fearless Flyer. It was tucked in a snippet about TJ’s Creamy Salted Peanut Butter, which has spoiled me for life: Since I discovered it years ago, I’ve been unable to consume any other mass market brand. Made with only, exclusively peanuts from the southeastern U.S. and salt – no sweeteners or additives – TJ’s makes a strong case for “Simple really is better.”
Now, the Hemingway part: “If you have a taste for Hemingway, try it his way, paired with thick onion slices.” So off I go to the internet, where I learn about Hemingway’s keen taste for food and adventure.” According to A.E. Hotchner in “Papa Hemingway,” Hemingway deemed this – the Mount Everest Special – his favorite sandwich. And his companion beverage of choice: red wine.
In his “Minimalist” column former New York Times food writer Mark Bittman asked, “What are the best — not necessarily the weirdest, or most unusual but the best — uses of peanut butter you know?” For Bittman, Ernest Hemingway’s peanut-butter-and-onion sandwich (PBOS) is high on the list.
Bethany Jean Clement, food writer at The Seattle Times, was skeptical. She starts her firsthand report about PBOS with “Yes, people eat this. Here, an assessment by two rabid onion-lovers and one normal person.” It’s a nice follow-up to her story about the Walla Walla sweet onion, the official Washington state vegetable. And a must-read for anyone who wants the unvarnished skinny before taking the PBOS plunge.
I would put myself in the “rabid onion-lover” camp. I keep red onions on hand for my salads; this cucumber, tomato and red onion salad is one of my favorites. I also love red or yellow onions and peas – also called Italian peas. And when I take out, I always ask for extra onions in my taco bowls and vegetable fried rice. Thanks to TJ’s, a Mount Everest Special is definitely in my future!