Pot Luck

On the Question of PB&J

After reading Katharine Shilcutt's screed on the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we thought we'd weigh in.

Packing a lunch box for a kid in pre-kindergarten might sound like an easy matter. But here at our test kitchens, we follow exacting rules for the creation of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These standards have been negotiated over time among several factions with widely varying points of view.

The kid insists on white bread. And so we bake fresh sandwich bread in a bread machine almost every night so that her white bread is still warm when it is hand-sliced. (We add high-gluten flour to improve the crust.) One faction insists that children with little developing brains should eat organic foods, even though other members of the family are oblivious to its benefits.

And so we use King Arthur organic bread flour in the bread machine. The kid likes creamy, not crunchy. So we buy one variety or other of organic creamy peanut butter sweetened with cane sugar. The organic strawberry jam is usually Whole Foods 365 brand.

I don't eat these sandwiches myself. While I am making the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kid, I slice some extra bread and toast it. Then I spread it with liverwurst, limburger, taramasalata, anchovy paste, or whatever adult breakfast food I can find in the fridge.

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Robb Walsh
Contact: Robb Walsh