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Friday, April 1, 2011

PB&J

Light or dark.

Toasted or not toasted.

Chunky or smooth.

These were just a few of the incredibly difficult questions running though my mind as I prepared to try something I had only ever heard of. This particular delicacy was something every American in every book, movie or TV-show spoke of with reverence. The staple of any American upbringing.

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

For the longest time I had wanted to try the infamous PB&J sandwich, because in my country a good breakfast doesn’t involve jelly or worthless white bread, it involves porridge, rye bread or a boiled egg. But finally, after years of surviving on nothing but rye bread, I finally realized I was a grown person and I could indeed put jelly on my sandwich if I felt like it. The mere thought made me feel wonderfully rebellious.

At the America shelf in the grocery store I found the peanut butter. Creamy and chunky were my only two choices, but to a peanut butter virgin that seemed like one too many. Finally I settled on the creamy, with the thought that it was probably better for my peanut allergy. Turns out it wasn’t. Who would have thought.

I then picked up some jam, because honestly, only Americans eat "jelly". It sounds like a children’s dessert. Speaking of which, I once tried making Jell-O in an attempt to identify with Americans and see what all the fuss was about, but I found it utterly disappointing. It was pink. And that’s just about the only good thing I have to say about it. It had a consistency that couldn’t be chewed and just sort of disappeared in your mouth when you tried to catch it with your tongue. It didn’t taste of anything at all, except maybe some preservatives. It was a dull and tasteless dessert.

Next, I grabbed some worthless white bread and went home to educate myself about the American way. And for your viewing pleasure, I documented every single step of the way.


First, the bread:



Two slices, because apparently Americans don’t do open-faced sandwiches. Which makes sense, why eat only one slice when you could get twice as many carbs in one sitting?



I popped the bread in the toaster. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to do this or not, but I find non-toasted white bread gross.



Perfect toast. And probably the most boring picture I’ve ever taken.



Next came the peanut butter.



I spread a liberal amount on one of the pieces, because that’s what Wikipedia told me to do.



Then I grabbed the jam. So interesting!



I spread some on the other slice. Again, Wikipedia told me to do it and if you can’t trust Wikipedia you can’t trust anyone.



I put the two pieces together and cut the thing diagonally in half like Americans are so fond of doing. Weirdos.



And then, I finally took a bite out of it.



I didn’t exactly hear the Hallelujah chorus, or die of pleasure, but I took another bite to make sure.



Nope, it was still just plain boring. The peanut butter had a weird dry taste to it, and the jam made it taste like dessert instead of breakfast. Wikipedia says that the average American will have eaten 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating from high school. I have a feeling I’d make a pretty lousy American.

But at least spring is finally here, so I can end this post on a good note. And I even have proof of spring’s arrival.



See the snow depth? It’s less than 45 cm! When there’s only one and a half feet of snow left on the ground you know summer is just around the corner.

And last, a couple of pictures of the cat. For Mike, because he just can’t get enough of the little furball.



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75 comments:

  1. Very, very rarely have I eaten PB&J as a breakfast food. However, when I HAVE, I've toasted the bread. I also have had PB&J on many different varieties of bread, not just white. I'm adventurous that way.

    That cat is absolutely gorgeous! Unfortunately, he has long fur, like mine does. Have fun with the consequences. ;)

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  2. Oh, I almost forgot: Spring is almost here, too. We only have about a foot of snow left on the ground--unless you are talking about the snowbanks, of course. THOSE are still several feet high.

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  3. I love pb&j with chicken noodle soup. Something about the sweet and salty combo makes life worth living, at least for the few moments that I'm eating it, I wouldn't toast the bread though, and we only eat wheat. Try some butter under the peanut butter, makes it less dry. Also one of my other absolute faves is peanut butter and spaghetti sandwich. or just peanut butter bread with a bowl of spag. It sounds gross but it's really good, hubby who's a very picky eater likes it. That says a lot. Plus now you have a jar of peanut butter you have to finish. I suppose you could make cookies.

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  4. Me luvs your kitty!

    Fun post!

    Hum....yeah. Don't toast the bread and use wheat bread. I don't eat jelly, either, just jam or preserves. My husband prefers PB & honey. It helps to actually be accustomed to eating peanut butter!

    Make some peanut butter cookies!

    Wait. Not if you're allergic, 'K?

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  5. I've never known anyone before who learned how to make a PBJ on Wikipedia. Impressive. And I love fluffy cat!

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  6. Ok. That is on beautiful cat!
    And now? I am dying for a PBJ.

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  7. Never mind. I just read some of the comments here and have completely lost my appetite.

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  8. Well it's about time you got back!!

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  9. Oh, and peanut butter and jam/jelly/preserves/jell-O/fruit paste is gross. I guess I wouldn't make a good American either.

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  10. Oh, and tell Darth I say hi.

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  11. Welcome back!

    This post should be called PB&J&C

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  12. Wow, you really are adventurous, I'm not sure I'd dare put peanut butter on anything but wheat bread.

    M and I are trying to pretend that our cat is different to all other long-haired cats and doesn't actually shed. Yep, we're delusional.

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  13. Yay for spring! I like to ignore the snowbanks completely. Sadly, my parents can't do that because they have a 6-foot high gigantic pile of snow on their backyard from where my dad shoveled the snow off the roof of the house. Poor bastards will still have snow in August.

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  14. Peanut butter and spaghetti? Wow, that sounds interesting. I do love a combination of sweet and salty, though, I always want something salty when I eat chocolate. Or chocolate when I eat something salty. Actually, I always want chocolate, doesn't really matter what I'm eating.

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  15. Now you're telling me not to toast the bread? And I shouldn't use wheat bread either? I did everything wrong. I clearly should have consulted a real American before I tried this.

    I'll probably have to do some peanut butter cookies with the rest of the jar.. I'm not too allergic, a shot of adrenaline and I'm good to go again.

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  16. Wikipedia knows everything. Although next time I'm definitely consulting a real American. And I love fluffy cat too! (Except when he wakes me up in the morning because he's hungry.)

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  17. I think the cat knows exactly how gorgeous he is, because he spends a ridiculous amount of time grooming himself.

    I'd offer to make you a PB&J, but I'm not too confident in my PB&J-making abilities..

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  18. It was the spaghetti, wasn't it?

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  19. I know, right! I'll be coming over to visit your blog today. I've missed you!

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  20. Luckily, you make a perfect Canadian.

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  21. I did. He bit me in the finger.

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  22. Thank you! Now why didn't I think of that title..

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  23. I once tried to make jelly/jell-o shots! Can't remember if they were good or not...

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  24. Were you so drunk you don't remember that it was you, me and Zelma who tried to make Jell-O shots? At least I think Zelma was with us, I can't remember either. They were pretty horrible, but they definitely did the trick. Until they melted, that is. I think we might have gone a little too heavy on the alcohol...

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  25. Yes...you should have consulted an American before attempting. PB & J is not a breakfast item, silly. And chicken noodle soup is not spaghetti. I just don't know how this misinformation gets out there to the public. It's an outrage, really.

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  26. Dammit, I knew I shouldn't have attempted something as sacred as the PB&J without consulting a real American, but I honestly thought I had it all figured out. And a real American is surprisingly difficult to come by here in Finland. You'll find fake ones on every street corner, but the real deal, not so much. They're simply too exotic to survive over here. It's not wonder there are so many rumors about fancy stuff like PB&J and Jell-O floating about, and I should know better than to believe them all.

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  27. That is one pretty kitty.

    PB&J is best on english muffins. Also spread a thin layer of butter on the side with the peanut butter and it won't be nearly as "dry". I live on these things when Alex is traveling. Oh, and toasted cheese sandwiches. And grilled cheese. And fried egg sandwiches. And diet coke and ritz crackers. What a wonderfully balanced diet! Pure American!

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  28. I hate to say this, but if you find a Finnish shelf at the supermarket, it will probably be stocked with pickled herring, fish baked into bread, mämmi, lutefisk, rye bread and a sort of casserole made with ground liver and rice, and not a lot of jam...

    Wikipedia did not say anything about the roof-sticking phenomenon, and I have to say, it was a pretty nasty surprise. Wikipedia failed me.

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  29. I have no idea what an English muffin is. Over here the word muffin is used for what you call cupcake, and making that into a PB&J sandwich sounds a little gross. But I'm sure whatever it is, it's lovely. Your diet when Alex is away sounds wonderfully nutritious. When M is away I usually survive on fried eggs and chocolate from his last trip abroad.

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  30. I'm stocking up on chocolate today. Then I will have fried egg and chocolate tomorrow when Big Al leaves, and not come off that diet till he gets back. It sounds like a good plan to me.

    English muffins are little round bread things with holes in them that you toast. Very tasty, unlike most things "English". Maybe it's like a crumpet but I don't know what a crumpet is so I can't tell you for sure.

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  31. Oh, those fake Americans are the worst! If you ever need tips on sorting out real Americans from fake ones...let me know. Obviously, the police aren't going to do anything about it.

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  32. That looks yummy. Since I have lived in the Americas, however, I know for a fact that it isn't. And I agree. The pictures of the cat are more interesting than the one of the toast.

    I am slightly worried for your allergy, though. I'm glad you didn't die of pleasure, but I also hope you didn't die of a swollen throat. Then again, I assume that would have made posting this quite difficult. Even with the help of the cats.

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  33. Before submitting a comment, I really, REALLY had to eat some PB on half of a toasted mini-bagel (I didn't eat breakfast today, not that I normally do) - but this post made me hungry.

    I don't often eat PB&J's but if I do, it is generally with jam or homemade preserves. I don't care for jelly. And toasted is just fine with me. I usually eat them with tomato soup (yeah, like Madge, I'm weird that way). Oh, and "JIF" - not a great product (I always found it to taste like stale socks, not that I would know what stale socks tasted like, but ... oh, nevermind).

    Oh, my! Darth is looking more pretty (handsome?) every day. Okay, I'll just say "cute" instead.
    ;-)

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  34. It's actually National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day here in the U.S. because we are nothing if not nuts about bogus holidays. Having said that, I'm sorry your PB&J disappointed. I make minute with Skippy Chunky style PB and Smuckers strawberry preservers and sometimes, I just suck back on a big spoon of PB all by itself. But that's okay, Ziva. I don't think I'd like pickled herring either.

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  35. PBJ is so boring. So, yeah, it must be an American thing. Here in Quebec we have this stuff called creton. It's like a pork pate spread. On a toasted English muffin or bagel it's just great with easy-over eggs to dip in and a side of breakfast sausage it's a cardiac attack on a plate. Yum, yum.

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  36. I'm actually not a fan of PB&J either. I didn't have my first one until I was 25. So don't feel bad. I think there was too much hype for me. I love PB sandwiches, but I usually use whole wheat or multi-grain bread. I've passed my hatred for PB&J onto my son. The first time he tried it, he said "eww, it's gooey." All I could say is, I agree. Here daddy you can have it." My husband stood there jaw to the floor because he has officially been outnumbered in the PB&J hatred camp. I toasted some new bread and spread some PB... Speedy asked for seconds. :)

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  37. I don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I don't like white bread unless it's a baguette or a rustic peasant bread with a decent crust, and I don't even understand how Jell-O came to be classified as a food product, let alone one worth eating. On the other hand, I don't like marmite or vegemite much either. Or any of the breakfast foods, not for breakfast, anyway.

    Look, I don't like much of anything. I'm a fucking grump and probably ought to die soon just to make the world a happier place.

    That said, did you try feeding some peanut butter to your darling cat? That's hilarious, I tell you.

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  38. Oh, don't worry about my allergies, I'm allergic to chocolate too, but that doesn't stop me from eating it. And I haven't died yet, so it can't really be that bad, right?

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  39. See, I suspected that "JIF" wouldn't possibly be the best PB America had to offer, but apparently it's the only one sold here in our supermarkets. I think I'm gonna have to go buy some Reese's to restore my faith in peanut butter.

    Darth Vader really is getting more handsome, isn't he? He's already grown so much it's making me sad that he won't stay a kitten forever. How are your poopettes?

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  40. Of course there's a National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. In a country were there's a Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day, I would be surprised if there wasn't a National PB&J Day too.

    Pickled herring is surprisingly nice, it's the fermented stuff you need to stay clear of.

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  41. See, a pork pâté spread I could deal with, and probably love. In Finland we have something that Wikipedia tells me is called leverpostej in English, which is basically a pâté made of pork liver and lard, and it's absolutely delicious. It's particularly good on whole wheat bread. Yum!

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  42. Yeah, I don't think I'd like toast with nothing but peanut butter on it. The jam at least made it more tolerable and acted as lubricant for the sticky peanut butter. And it was tasty, as opposed to the peanut butter. When I stayed in England, they put butter and jam on toast, and that was totally delicious. I should do that again..

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  43. Marmite? That sounds like a pesticide.

    You are a fucking grump, but you're a funny grump, so please stick around a while longer.

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  44. Good luck with the fried eggs and chocolate diet, I hope Big Al isn't gone for very long, because it can become pretty boring after a while. But then you can skip the eggs and focus on the chocolate.

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  45. Oh, the Finnish police barely even know a Russian person from a cow, I wouldn't count on them to recognize a real --or fake-- American at all. Completely useless, that's what they are.

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  46. Oh, the poopettes are fine - driving me a little nuts, but fine. And getting bigger! Yikes! Like you with Darth, I wish they wouldn't grow up.

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  47. I once had a cat who loved peanut butter. He'd get a mouth full and then try to meow. It was a source of great amusement.

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  48. Jello isn't food. Learned that the hard way when I took a pain pill with it after I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Bright side, it tastes the same coming up as it does going down.

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  49. Henry loves pickled herring, but he's a Polock, the wine pickled not the sour cream, he has me slice fresh onion to cram in the jar.

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  50. English muffin is sort of like a crusty split toaster biscuit, if you get those.

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  51. Henry seems like a great guy. Me like.

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  52. I'm going to have to see if they sell these in our supermarket, they actually sound sort of good.

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  53. mikewjattoomanymorningsApril 4, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    Ugh, indeed.

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  54. mikewjattoomanymorningsApril 4, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    See? I like it when cats (and dogs) can't get it off the roofs of their mouths and they start smacking their lips and spinning around. It's a scream.

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  55. mikewjattoomanymorningsApril 4, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    I'll try. I need a vacation. To Mars.

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  56. mikewjattoomanymorningsApril 4, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    That pork pâté spread sounds good to me. Maybe on a cracker or nice bit of baguette.

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  57. mikewjattoomanymorningsApril 4, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    I had a whole bunch of Jell-O shots at my best friend's bachelor party one night.

    I think.

    The details are a little fuzzy now.

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  58. Even funnier when under the influence of hallucinogenics.

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  59. And if you just can't get that peanut butter to be palatable, there are a lot of recipes that you can use it in. Cookies, different bar/pan cookies, candies, frostings, etc. It doesn't all have to be eaten as sandwiches.

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  60. They're really good with avocado, ham, cheese and mayo.

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  61. Who's supposed to be under the influence of hallucinogenics, the cat, or the one watching the cat? For future reference.

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  62. Clearly it must be a side effect of the Jell-O.

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  63. I think there are so many recipes calling for peanut butter because Americans invented it, then realized it wasn't all that good and quickly had to justify its existence by using it in cookies, candies, frostings etc. Luckily, it is absolutely fabulous with chocolate, so I don't even care if it's boring on a sandwich.

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  64. That would have been me. Many decades ago. I recall painting the poor bastard with water colors at one point, too, but I think he'd just eaten a whole marijuana plant so he was pretty mellow about it.

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  65. I don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches AT ALL. Mostly because I am HIGHLY allergic to them!

    And, I can't get enough of Darth Vader Kitty either!

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  66. Surprisingly--but maybe not that much of a surprise--I think the majority of recipes that feature peanut butter also have chocolate in them. Hmmm, never noticed that before. :)

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  67. I hear you, I'm pretty allergic to peanuts myself. Not as allergic as you are, but allergic enough. Luckily I can fix the problem with substantial amounts of antihistamine.

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  68. I live on benadryl! It's the greatest invention EVER!

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  69. Oh, oh! More Jayne high on acid stories, please!

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  70. Yeah, that's stuff full of shit that's bad for your brain.

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  71. Ziva,

    I gave you the Psycho Carnival award for originality 'cause you are original for sure.

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  72. OMG, that's the best name for an award ever! I'll be right over.

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  73. hahahahahha! Now I've got to look for the Finnish shelf at the supermarket and find some jam to have with my penut butter, so the PB doesn't stick to the roof of my mouth. Did Wikipedia mention anything about the PB&J roof sticking phenomenon?

    I better look up jam on Wikipedia to see how thickly I should spread it on an open-faced sandwhich, as I'm not an expert in using one slice of bread. I'm a die-hard carber after all.

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