Monday, September 3, 2007

On Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

This past Saturday my wife and I were gearing up for a family outing at the Coosada Heritage Festival where my oldest girls were to be performing ballet with the King's Praise Ballet troupe.

Along with getting (all) the children to replace the pajamas adorning their bodies with playing-in-the-park attire or ballet dresses, I was helping my wife make sandwiches for lunch at the festival.

Finding myself in the kitchen making food for my family is always an adventure, but there should be nothing interesting or remarkable in the process of producing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My wife was getting a few other things in the kitchen rounded up. I was toasting frozen slices of bread, and layering the toasted slices with peanut butter.

And then I got a "look" from my wife.

As all I was doing was spreading peanut butter on bread I was stumped. But I didn't immediately ask for an interpretation of that "look."

This was exactly akin to when I have asked my wife where "something" is in our home. Finding myself standing at the aforementioned location of the "something," I will be completely unable to locate it. Before asking her to physically come find the "something" for me, I will at least two or three more times thoroughly rummage through and around the area to make sure she won't come, lean over, grab the "something" and hand it to me to my complete chagrin. This pause and repeated re-looking on my part has reduced her immediate finding of the "something" to about fifty percent of the time.

I assayed my current puzzling peanut buttery situation:

There were about eight or nine bread slices arrayed in front of me peanut buttered to Rob's standard of buttering. This is not to be confused with my wife and oldest daughter's standard which states that "when (peanut) buttering the entire (100%) surface area of the bread slice in question must be completely covered with said (peanut) butter." Rob's standard says that "a slice of bread is considered (peanut) buttered if a good portion of the slice appears to be layered in (peanut) butter."

It couldn't be the layering standard because we had just joked about that standard after I had buttered the first three or four slices.


It had been mentioned that we were making six sandwiches. One each for my wife, myself and the four oldest children. We still had a half sandwich left over from some other excursion this week for the two year old and the baby is not yet doing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

That had to be it, something about the number of sandwiches and my current production of peanut buttered slices.


My wife had gotten the jelly jar out of the fridge and was standing with a jellied knife seemingly unable to find a suitable place to jelly on any of the slices in question. "How many sandwiches are you intending to make?" She queried. "Six," I answered, looking at the eight or nine buttered slices in front of me and waiting for the other four or three slices in the toaster defrosting behind me.

And then the conundrum was solved! There are not just different standards for buttering slices of bread, there are also conflicting standards for making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Rob's standard for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich states that "a peanut butter and jelly sandwich shall have peanut butter on both slices of bread with jelly in the middle." My wife's standard states that "a peanut butter and jelly sandwich shall have peanut butter on one slice and jelly upon the other slice."

The sandwiches were finished either using mixed standards or Rob's standard (I can't even remember those details from two days ago), and we went happily off to the festival. The girls and all the ballet troupe danced beautifully and I thoroughly enjoyed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, not even thinking once about whether or not I was having a Rob standard sandwich or not.

For inquiring minds: the peanut butter on both sides (in Rob logic) stops the jelly from making the one slice of bread gooey.


Anna Naomi said...

Yet another fun post to read! =) Thank you for taking the time to write these.

I used to put peanut butter on both sides of bread because I thought it tasted better... then mom told me it was kind of wasteful and more fattening that way, so I stopped. ;-) I guess I could have used the gooey bread excuse! Now however, I prefer a thin spread of each - tastes change, I suppose!

Thanks again for taking and working on the pictures!

Mrs. Hart said...

Absolutely LOVED this post!

Miriam and I have a standing joke between us. James often goes to the fridge or pantry looking for something, rarely finding it, then calling out to us, "Where is the ________? Of course, just as you noted, one of us simply walks over and immediately procures whatever item he was after. Then we look at each other and say, "He couldn't find it because it didn't jump out and say, 'Boo! Here I am!' "
We have decided it must be a "man thing".

Rob said...

Thanks again for you comments:

My peanut butter technique was formed as an under teenager and I never even thought about it until Saturday. I don't know that I've ever thought about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich "tasting" good or bad, it performs a function.

A part about not finding things that I didn't add to the post was the times that I can't find the something and then Trisha comes over and says, "Oh that's right, this is where I start looking for it. It is actually over here."

Elijah Lofgren said...

Hi Rob,

I enjoyed this! :) I look forward to reading more in the coming weeks. I go home on Thursday! :)

Hope you're doing well,


Elijah Lofgren said...

Wow, I just realized that this post was from September 3rd! Over 3 months ago! I've been way to negligent in reading this interesting blog!