Can you Make Your Own Sandwich? Yes You Can!: A few thoughts on the state of PB&J

by Laura on August 1, 2010

in Food


You’ve probably already read about it, passed it along to friends, posted it on your Facebook account, “Sandwiches in a Can, Can-do or Can don’t? The story goes like this:

Man spends more than a decade perfecting the art of creating a sandwich in a can. He comes up with Canwich PBJ.

He is quoted in the article:

“So think about it. You’re a mom running your kids between school, piano lessons, and soccer. Stopping at a fast-food restaurant takes time. This is something that literally could roll around the car for a few months. … I kind of compare it to bottled water when it first came out. At the time I thought, ‘Why would I pay a dollar for a bottle of water when I can just go to the water fountain?’ Now I drink bottled water every day. It’s convenient.”

The comments, almost 1,000, are just as amusing. They range from those who embrace this idea as ideal to those who shun it completely.

  • “I think it’s a GREAT idea. Pack those little jokers when you plan a trip to an amusement park and the y’ll save you a ton of money!
  • Have you SEEN the prices of a sandwich at Disney World??
  • If the power goes out – which it does where I live – this will be great for the kids. Thanks for the invention – I wish I’d thought of it!!!!
  • I’ve eaten my share of canned rations and MRE’s in bags. I don’t think this idea is new or particularly gross. For vending machines, camping, and emergency rations, this idea is the bomb!
  • For household use, maybe, but why would I pay $6-9 total ($2-3 per sandwich) to get each of my three kids a sandwich in a can when I can buy bread, peanut butter AND jelly for the same price and give them sandwiches for three days? Why is this more convenient than producing a sandwich and packing it a Tupperware container or bag the old fashioned way???”


Once I finished the article, my mind began to wander to theSmucker’s Uncrustables my kids recently consumed. You know, those frozen PB&J sandwiches that can be easily popped into the lunch pail for school, grabbed for on-the—go, or used for everyday lunches at home. Now this is a concept that really makes me scratch my head. The canned version can find its place in this world – especially when packed as a part of an earthquake kit, for example. But, I just can’t wrap my head around buying a pre-made PB&J when it takes so little time and expense to make yourself.

During a recent visit to the Great Lakes Science Museum with the kids, we planned poorly, and found ourselves drawn to the cafeteria to fill their bellies before moving on to the next exhibit.

They were offered the typical kids fare, including chicken nuggets. The kids opted for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but were a bit surprised when they received their foods. Their faces said, ‘a sandwich in a bag? Why is it round?). It was the Smucker’s Uncrustables. They thought about it for a minute, but then sunk their teeth into this round, sandwich shaped like a tart. They had no problem with it, and gobbled it up just like they would if I had made them one at home.

That day, we spent more than $20 feeding the kids – and I am still kicking myself for not planning ahead and packing a lunch.

When I got back to my computer, I investigated a bit more about the Uncrustables phenomenon.

The web site reads:

“Work. School. Piano lessons. Soccer games. At Smucker’s, we know how busy your life has become … so we created a few more ways to help make your life simple again. Now you can enjoy the great taste of Smucker’s anytime, anywhere!”

It continues, speaking specifically about the Uncrustables: “How do mom’s do it. They know how to use their times wisely. They’re convenient, portable and perfect for the family on the go.”

Well, this is how I do it:

Plan ahead, make sandwiches, take them with you.

Typically we pack lunch – sandwiches, fruit and a drink – before we head out on long adventures. It cuts down on the cost, and allows us to eat whenever, and wherever, they’re hungry. Yes, it takes a bit of planning ahead, but this has become a habit every time we leave the house. (OK, maybe not this time, but we learned a lesson.)

A further perusal of the web revealed a whole subculture of moms seeking out coupons for this frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Moms all over are clamoring for this product, seeking out coupons, passing along tips on where to find them, and how to get a $2.50 box of four, for dollars off.

I felt like logging in and suggesting they trade the time they spend looking for coupons for Uncrustables, with time spent making the sandwich themselves.

What is it that makes this such a popular product that it pops up on many mom blogs and parenting forums? They’re all looking for coupons, so obviously they’re not pleased with the price So it must be the convenience of them. But, I even have a hard time comprehending ‘convenience’ as a reason. How inconvenient is it to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? (FYI – the Canwich requires you to make the sandwich)

It takes a minute or two to gather ingredients, make the sandwich, and pack it in a lunchbox or place it on the table. It is a task that even my children can perform.

To help in the lunch-making dilemma, in the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting some great ideas for packing lunches for school – or for work. Stay Tuned.


In light of what recently happened in Colorado (bear goes after peanut butter and jelly in a car), I’m keeping the canned PB&J idea in my back pocket. It may come in handy if we ever head out to Colorado and go for a hike.

Check out what is in the Uncrustables Click Uncrustables ingredients.


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