Although peanut butter has been with us since the late 1800’s, and had its first date with jelly during WW II, most Americans to this day truly don’t know how to make the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We’ve taken its simplicity for granted and merely slapped it together on a daily basis, without regard to proper form. These instructions will not only help you create a tastier sandwich, but also give you a better appreciation for a true American hero.
1. First, let’s start with finding the right bread, which is one of the most frequently overlooked ingredients when creating your masterpiece. You will need two slices of white bread, ideally ½ inch-thick and about 5″square. It needs to be soft, yet able to withstand the slight pressure of a butter knife. The bread must not be too thin, too thick, too soft, or too hard.
2. Next, decide on smooth or crunchy peanut butter. Smooth is the tried and true classic; however, crunchy is making headway in certain circles. You’ll also need two good butter knives. Please don’t use a steak knife, a spoon, or some other utensil that you think may suffice; just stick with butter knives.
3. Now spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread. Be careful, because it’s at this juncture that most people totally ruin their sandwich. The peanut butter should be gently applied to the bread with a fluid back and forth motion. What’s extremely critical here is the amount of peanut butter. For the perfect sandwich, apply the peanut butter at approximately 50% of the thickness of the slice of bread you are using. We can’t emphasize this point enough.
4. Next, gently apply the jelly with the second butter knife to the other slice of bread. Ideally, the amount of jelly should be equal to about half the amount of peanut butter you applied. Don’t spread it all the way to the edges of the bread – unless, of course, you enjoy jelly dripping off the sides, which will then need to be licked off while you’re eating the sandwich. Some people look forward to this (especially children, college graduates, middle-aged men and women, and seniors).
5. Now carefully place the slice of bread containing the peanut butter on top of the slice with the jelly. Press firmly around all the edges, but not too hard.
6. For the finale, you can go find that steak knife you considered using earlier. For a good sandwich, just make one cut, on a diagonal across the square. For an even tastier sandwich, make two diagonal cuts, so you end up with four equal triangles. There have been several studies conducted on this final step, and all have concluded that the sandwich sliced into four smaller sections definitely tastes better. No one fully understands the science behind it, or even knows if there is any; it just works. Enjoy!