Catapult Alumni | Nonfiction

Is There Anything More Americana Than a PB&J?

Easy, cheap, and it doesn’t talk… for better or worse.

 Is there anything more americana than the peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Perhaps apple pie, but god, who has the time?

I consider the question of the PB&J as an American masterpiece as a I lay two multi-grain slices of bread together. There are seeds embedded within the bread fluff, little hard bits that I will bite into and feel good about eating. My bread is full of nutrients according to its plastic bag and I’m American. We trust the fuck out of anything with some good branding.

“Is it true?” I ask the bread. “Are you healthy?” It doesn’t reply. It’s bread. I’m just lonely.

it’s mehas nearly wiped out all of the jar’s glorious contents. Oh, woe is a lack of trans fat in this household. I take a good heaping gob of the brown stuff, almost the last bit, on a knife and spread it across one slice of bread.

I think of my mother and my siblings. I think of hard times, when this sandwich was the only choice. I think of good times, when this sandwich was the perfect thing to pack for a picnic or to slap together after a good romp in bed. I think of so many things that I reason I should keep talking to the sandwich, but, JESUS, it’s a sandwich. It cannot talk, but I like its company. And you know, I’m going to devour the pour thing. The peanut butter rests.

Rich jelly is in my fridge. I’ve bought raspberry at the store yesterday. Somehow, no matter how careful I am, I manage to smear some on my hand whenever I make a PB&J. Guess what? I do it this time and I lick it off my hand like an anteater meant to slurp up preserves. Back in the United States, I always chose grape jelly as a kid. Because my mother did? And I suppose, grapes are quite comforting with their deep purple color in the jar.

I dip the knife into the jelly. It’s a fresh jar, so you know it’s essentially pornographic. I ravish this unsullied jelly like a well-muscled fellow on a romance novel cover. On my knife, my red treasure decides to stage a protest and jumps to its death on my white countertop. But fate is a cruel mistress for the jelly because I’ve just cleaned the countertops. I shall not be beaten by jelly. I scoop it right up and plop it on my bread. My knife is a lover’s caress as it spreads the red goodness over the grains. It seeps into the bread like blood. Why does that make me hungrier? I must think about that later.

The healthy seeds welcome the sugared fruit. They were less pleased about the stickiness of the peanut butter, but they’ll get the fuck over it. Their life is short because I am hungry.

Reader, I eat the sandwich. 

I eat this thing. I am on a beach, I am with a can of fresh coca-cola as an eight-year-old with scratched-up knees as lunch time, I am grasping my lover at his side with peanut butter smeared on my cheek, I am on the edge of the world with the most simple thing there is to make in an American kitchen.

And I’m happy.

I want to tell the sandwich, but I’ve eaten the poor thing in four bites. 

Short, easy, efficient.