The comfort food of childhood memories. Windswept summer days and Saturday afternoon cartoons. Who can forget those carefree days of..
The peanut butter and jam sandwich
Possibly my first culinary success as a youth. Finding that perfect match of pureed peanuts with butter and fruit based glucose product. Like all children I tried the classic grape jelly but found it lacking in texture and over complemented the peanut butter, there was no parade of flavours, just a homogeneous blending of sticky sugary nothing like grape taste. Further experiments with crunchy vs smooth peanut butter and a cornucopia of bottled fruit products I discovered the perfect blending of smooth peanut butter and raspberry jam on white bread.
(We will have another discussion on the merits of bread but for now, it is plain white bread, the sole purpose being to keep your hands from getting sticky and dribbling jam on the floor)
Any other bread simply detracts from the simplistic balance of the condiments perfect in its simplicity. No two other condiments can compete with this magical blending. Try just ketchup and mustard, or mayo and relish, alone they are nothing. Even combined they lack a key ingredient to justify their existence, always regulated to the afterthought of culinary selection, like the last kid chosen for a stickball team. A stickball team that peanut butter is pitching, and jam is the shortstop.
But I digress.
A thick layer of peanut butter, thick enough to leave gentle whips along the bread, like a windswept brown ocean is laid out on a single slice of bread. Then raspberry jam is unevenly spread over the second piece. Lumps are important to vary the texture and flavour of each bite, adding a hint of mystery to your meal. Carefully place the peanut buttered slice on the jammed slice to prevent any unwanted counter messes and if you are serving this to guests, it’s best to slice it in two on the diagonal. Never slice across the equator as your sandwich will instantly become unappetizing and your guests will find your lack of order and balance distressing.
Consume with gusto, allowing images of childhood splendor fill your mind with every jam oscillating flavoured bite. Relive those days of princesses and pirates, cops and robbers, pillow forts and laying in the grass. Let your modern adult worries dissolve away as the peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth and through out the day as an errant raspberry seed appears in your mouth and maneuvered by your dexterous tongue, crushes between your teeth. A faint echo of your childhood and your meal.