Monday, October 19, 2009
The first time I had a proper PBJ was when I was in maybe 3rd grade. I was at Tom & Pat Petit's house, and Pat offered me one. I remember thinking it was a funny idea. We had peanut butter at my house, and bread, but jam was something that existed as a by-product of Dad's whacked-out fruit flavored cordial recipes. As such, it didn't go with anything really, and I sure as hell didn't like to mess up my peanut butter with it. I had rather just have raisins, that was normal, right, raisin sandwich? Uh-huh. I think dad even tried to make grape jelly once, with the concord grape leviathan that was hulking around the back yard, it was awful stuff. The jelly, I mean; it was cloudy and bitter, but I could be remembering something else. The vine was pretty cool.
The point is, I was taken aback at the idea of putting jelly (grape flavored!) on peanut butter. But Pat gave me one anyway, and it was amazing. Smucker's grape jelly. Jif. White bread. And the secret ingredient: a thick layer of margarine. To this day I remember eating that sandwich, and feeling like I'd gotten away with something. Now, I am truly grateful for all the weird shit my parents made me eat as a child (except turnips, I still have a grudge about that one). I really don't like white wonder-style bread, it's pretty nasty. And I love real butter! Wow, if I had to give up real butter I might die of misery. Jif? Hate it. Ate it too regularly in highschool.
But somehow, the salty, artificial, butter-esque, movie-theater-popcorn taste of margarine has retained its magic, and I go through phases when I hanker after a slice of bread topped with a thick, sloppy layer of margarine and strawberry jam. Add a big mug of tea, and fuzzy pajamas; sometimes comfort is simple.