This $4 Trader Joe’s Find Is the Snack of My Childhood Dreams

published Sep 19, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Masur

If there’s something that seemingly needs no improvement, it’s the iconic combination of peanut butter and jelly — specifically, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Given its cultural ubiquity in the United States, it’s hard to believe it was all just put together only around a century ago, at the time of The Great Depression and the start of WWII. Peanut butter was inexpensive, and sliced bread was all the rage, so a sandwich star was born.

The internet taught me that the average American will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before graduating from high school. I was hardly one of those kids. Not only did I have an immigrant parent (iykyk), but that same immigrant parent was also a professional chef. So I fulfilled the stereotype at my very ethnically homogenous Catholic elementary school, and became the girl with the smelly Tupperware lunches of random dinner leftovers, while other girls around me ate their Lunchables and daintily sipped their CapriSuns with an air of superiority you could bottle and spray as perfume. 

But, of course, you always want what you can’t (or didn’t) have, so peanut butter and jelly on white bread often felt like the holy grail of school lunch. Now, as an adult with no use for lunch boxes, I can buy myself sliced bread and jars of peanut butter and jelly whenever I want. But do I? I suppose the tragedy here, dear reader, is that I don’t. My adult tastes have changed, and I find myself drawn to and prioritizing textural contrast in nearly everything I eat (hello, potato chips on sandwiches!) and PB&Js just don’t cut it anymore (even with chunky peanut butter). Or so I thought.

Credit: Laura Manzano

What’s So Great About Trader Joe’s PB & J Snack Duo?

Trader Joe’s has wasted no time reinventing this classic duo in an interactive way for all our daily on-the-go PB&J needs! In these PB&J Snack Duos, peanut butter wafer sticks come safely stacked in a small plastic canoe, accompanied by a sidecar of raspberry “fruit dip” for, well, dipping. The peanut butter wafers are like those fancy Pirouette cookies your mom hid from you as a kid, but better.

They’re flaky, a little salty, and are as good on their own as they are dipped in the small cup of thick, sweet jelly. If I’m in a particular kind of mood, I’ll even stick them in ice cream, drizzle the jelly on top, and call it a Sundae. Who cares if it’s 3 a.m.? Who cares if these are seemingly designed for kindergarteners? I’m an adult now, remember? 

The irony around how I discovered this snack in the first place is that this child’s treat came to me in a moment fully entrenched within adulthood: at work. Specifically working as a food stylist for a fast-food commercial, eating just about anything I felt like dunking in the deep fryer in between shots. I went to the craft services table looking for a sweet snack, and there they were: the basic American lunch I was denied as a wee babe, in a new and exciting format. The potential was thrilling, the product rewarding, and, these days, this iconic duo is finally a constant in my cabinet. 

Find it in stores: Trader Joe’s PB & J Snack Duo, $3.99 for 12.7 ounces

Do you have a favorite Trader Joe’s snack? Tell us in the comments below.