In my sixth grade science class I remember getting a very specific assignment. The assignment was to write procedures from start to finish on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To make it even more interesting, that morning we handed in our assignment and our teacher proceeded to make sandwiches for each one of us following our own set of instructions. For the record, in my procedures I didn’t remember to tell him he needed to open the jar of jelly or peanut butter, so needless to say my sandwich sucked. The point here, is that since that assignment some 18 years ago I haven’t thought much about the proper way to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That is until I watched my boyfriend do it, and you guys… I just… I can’t even.
We were trying to decide this one particular day what we were going to eat for lunch when we finally settled on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Jim (my boyfriend) said he would make them, and he started gathering the ingredients. I watched as he laid two pieces of white bread on the counter, grabbed a butter knife from the drawer and proceeded to dunk it in the peanut butter and spread it on one of the pieces of bread. I noticed that he didn’t bring the peanut butter all the way to the edges, but I assumed maybe this was his sandwich, so I said nothing. He then opened the jelly, got some on the knife and that’s when he did the unthinkable…
He put the jelly on the SAME piece of bread that he’d put the peanut butter on!
As I watched in horror, my eyes widened. I couldn’t believe what was happening and before I knew it I gasped and yelled “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!?” he looked up at me shocked by my outburst, “what?” he said. “WHY are you putting two ingredients on one slice of bread!? There are TWO slices of bread, James!” I said in complete disgust. He began to laugh because my reaction at this situation was probably a little more dramatic than it needed to be but, I just wasn’t having it. He told me that he’d always made his sandwiches this way and that it was the “correct” way. I’d like to add here that later on in a debate on this subject on Facebook, his mother assured me that he was not raised this way, so I’m not sure where he got his bizarre sandwich making tactics but, anyway. I argued again that there are two slices of bread and two ingredients that go on the bread so obviously you put one ingredient on each slice. It was at this point I commented that he also didn’t spread the peanut butter OR the jelly all the way to edge of the bread and that this was the sorriest looking sandwich that I had ever seen.
Given the amount of criticism he received on this particular day about his sandwich making ability, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that he made me make my own sandwich that afternoon, and every afternoon since.
If you refer to the picture below (mind you, both of these sandwiches were made by Jim for the purposes of debate, hence the peanut butter and the jelly STILL not being spread all the way to the edges) you will see the two arguments on the proper way to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you ask me, this is kind of like the debate on whether the toilet paper goes over or under, there is an obvious correct answer and an obvious wrong answer. The toilet paper goes over, and the peanut butter and jelly are to be on separate pieces of bread.