Peanut Butter and Purple Onions

Sounds crazy until you try it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


I have sad news, friends. One of the creators of the peanut butter and purple onion sandwich, my grandfather Johnny, passed away yesterday.

He has been increasingly slipping away from us for some time now, and I think we all knew that he wouldn't be with us for much longer. And even though I know that his time had come, and that he has earned peace, it's hard to lose him.

No one is really sure from whence came the fabled peanut butter and purple onion sandwich -- Dad and Johnny never could remember the particulars -- but Johnny's versions were superb: thin slices of rye, toasted crisp; salty, gooey natural peanut butter; translucent rounds of sweet onion. He did occasionally add mayonnaise, which of course is blasphemous, but he was charmingly unrepentant.

Johnny also taught me about the gorgeous combination of strawberries, brown sugar, and sour cream, how to efficiently cube a potato (he liked to apply engineering principles to the kitchen), and how to make szchi, his Russian mother's cabbage soup. That's a holiday recipe, a feasting bowl, and I think Johnny would like it if we stirred up a batch in his honor. I'll undertake that soon. But before that, I'll make a PBPO sandwich in his memory. Peace.


  • At 10:24 PM, Blogger kitchenmage said…

    I am so sorry to hear this. Grandparents are their own kind of special. I may even have to try a PBPO sandwich in his honor.

  • At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Ivonne said…

    My sympathies, BNA.

    It sounds like your grandfather was a tremendous person. I hope you have a lot of great memories to remember him by.

  • At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Rorie said…

    Such sad news, BNA. So, so sorry to hear - keep your memories of your grandfather close to your heart.

  • At 8:38 AM, Blogger Courtney said…

    My regards.
    I wish I had better words than that.

  • At 4:55 PM, Blogger BNA said…

    Thanks, everyone, for your kind thoughts and well wishes. I'm here in Southern California with the family, remembering Johnny together, which is helping us all.

  • At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Tania said…

    BNA, I'm so very sorry to read of your loss. It sounds like he was an amazing person.

    I think it is really special that your blog is named for his creation -- you honour him every time you write a post.

    Please take care.

  • At 11:18 AM, Blogger PatL said…

    BNA, commiserations. It's the cycle of life and all that, but the passages are still hard. Blessings on you and your family today.

  • At 2:27 PM, Blogger MM said…

    My condolences to you and your family.

  • At 10:51 AM, Blogger BNA said…

    Thanks, Tanya, Patl, and MM...we're all doing better this week.

  • At 4:40 PM, Blogger Laurie said…

    I just wanted to tell you that I remembered this in the grocery store yesterday (a major feat for me!) and added a red onion to my cart with the peanut butter, bananas, grape jelly, and bread. Hubby has been warned that I'm not cooking this week.

    Anyway, I'll toast your grandfather with a sandwich!


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