The Best Sandwich I Ever Had

Eff Arugula. Get your goat cheese out of my face. Marinate this, fancy sandwich makers (insert rude gesture here), you elitist bastards. I maintain that the sandwich is one of mankind’s most humble inventions, one that is best enjoyed without pomp or condiments.

I’ve experienced what I would consider the full spectrum of sandwiches in my thirty-two years and some-odd days on this planet, and while there’s a place for the exotic, the overstuffed, the standardized and the tangy, I believe in my heart there is nothing in creation closer to the Platonic ideal of sandwich than the Peanut Butter and Jelly. When it comes to the PB & J, I’m a purist. I grew up on Skippy creamy, and that saccharine substance was infused with the goodness of Annette Funicello, who informs me that Skippy has more “protein than many sandwich foods, like bologna.” So we know it is both hale and appropriate for our friends the hippietarians.

Now, let’s talk jelly. There is no complement more authentic, more perfect, more intuitive with creamy peanut butter than classic grape jelly. It has to be Welch’s, from a squeeze bottle or reusable jelly jar, a viscous purple slick to make your mouth and soul sing. Following this argument to its logical conclusion – you know where I’m going with this – our spreadable friends cling to one brand of bread above all others in good times (lunch with your mom on a half day of school), and bad (too many shots of Jager, kicked out of the bar). Wonder Bread is there when you need it. You can call me sentimenal, but you know I’m right.

Crunchy is tasty on a spoon, a dollop of strawberry rhubarb jam is lovely on a slice of angel food cake and grainy, wheaty, brown breads may be better for your physical body but nothing soothes your spiritual one like the balm of this wholesome trinity.

On this day, of all days, let us celebrate the virtues of the sandwich, but not just any ragtag combination of deli meats and curdled milk, the sandwich for which the lunchbox was built, the sandwich that pairs with a tall glass of moo juice, the sandwich this country was built upon and acts as a beacon of hope on a hill to all who hear of its sweet, pillowy, savory satisfaction. Let us praise the peanut butter and jelly, for giving us freedom, democracy and gladness.

Photo: bumblesweet

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original "Insiders," for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.

4 Comments

  1. ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’ on the second floor of the Public Market House in Monument Square may make a slightly fancier version of Wonder/Skippy/Welch’s, but when you’re in the mood for a PB&J and you’re not standing in your own kitchen, it’s a hell of a nice quick comfort-food snack.

    As nice as the the original is, homemade peanut/cashew/almond/etc-butter (he makes several kinds) on fresh baked bread with jam and maybe a little fluff, plus some coffee served up by one of the friendly women at Market House Coffee… oh yeah.

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