When I read the headline to Ruth Reichl's piece on Gilt Taste earlier this week, I chuckled: How to Make a Better Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. What could there possibly be to learn that we don't know already?
Now I should take a step back and mention that when I used to teach high school English, one of the assignments I'd give my students was to write detailed instructions on a task that seemed easy or mundane. This encouraged them to be very specific and visual in their writing. We practiced in the classroom jotting down instructions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and most found the activity strangely difficult. You just do it, they'd insist! Put peanut butter and jelly on bread: done!
Well, not so fast. According to Ruth Reichl this week, there's a lot we have to learn or, at the very least, to consider. Among those things is choosing good ingredients, not relying on squishy bad bread, and using real fruit jam instead of jelly. But then she gets to the real secrets: spread a layer of butter on one side of the bread and top it with the peanut butter and a smidge of flaky salt. Then spread jelly on the other side as you normally would. Now, Reichl advises that you cut off the crusts and ... ready for this? Microwave your sandwich for 8 seconds. This will, she insists, "melt the ingredients into a texture so sexy you will barely recognize the innocent sandwich of your childhood." We're game. How about you?