I guess the atmosphere that I've tried to create here is that I'm a friend first and a boss second, and probably an entertainer third. -Michael Scott, The Office
Question #69193 posted on 10/16/2012 9:34 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How many ways are there to make a peanut butter sandwich using just bread, peanut butter, and jelly?

-PBJ (aka - poor, broke, jobless) fiend

A:

Dear PBJ,

It has been said that "you are what you eat." If that statement were to be held to be literally true, then I suppose that I would probably be considered a sandwich. I will not delve into all of the philosophical, metaphorical, or existential implications of that fact in this answer. Those can come another day. Today, I am here to talk about real, literal sandwiches. I shall entitle my presentation:

Groundbreaking Advances in the Science of Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Production and Consumption: A Qualitative Study of a High Culinary Art in Collegiate Residents of Provo, Utah

I have carefully prepared each of these sandwiches over the course of the past weeks, painstakingly documenting their creation and structure. Each of them has been carefully rated with my new and innovative "smiley scale," using a notation system based on the discovery that I recently made that a colon followed by a capital letter "d" has the appearance of a grinning face (:D). Each sandwich is rated from one smiley (:D) to five smileys (:D :D :D :D :D) depending on my overall composite reaction. So, without further ado, let us proceed to the sandwiches!

The Basic

I find it rather unnecessary to give a detailed description of how to construct a run-of-the-mill PB&J. I will instead present you with a brief photographic exhibit. Because of some input deficiencies, I was forced to substitute honey for jelly in several of my experiments.

Here is the PB&H during production:

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And the finished product:

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Rating: :D :D :D :D

The Half Sandwich

The Half PB&H is essentially identical to the regular PB&H, except constructed with only one slice of bread, as follows:

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Rating: :D :D :D :D

The Triple-Decker

A Triple-Decker PB&H begins much the same as a regular PB&H, as follows:

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However, once the first two slices of bread have been placed together, the top slice and the third slice are then used to house a second PB&H combination:

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The finished product is essentially a stacked sandwich:

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While this differs little from the regular PB&H in taste, it is considerably more voluminous and would not be suitable as a snack, only as a meal.

Rating: :D :D :D

The Half-Toasted Sandwich

A regular PB&H can be enhanced by toasting its bread before preparation. But what of a sandwich in which only one slice of bread is toasted?

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As the following photo demonstrates, the only potential obstacle is that the toasted slice of bread is slightly smaller than its un-toasted companion:

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The combination of toasted and un-toasted bread creates a very interesting contrast unique to such a variety of sandwich.

Rating: :D :D :D :D

The Inverse PB&J

The Inverse PB&J is constructed by applying peanut butter and jelly to the outside of a single slice of bread, rather than containing them between two slices:

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This sandwich's preparation is unusually difficult, as pressure must be exerted on the bread against a solid surface when applying both the peanut butter and the jelly. I chose to accept that my own hand would have to serve as the backing, leading to a very unfortunate side effect.

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The Inverse PB&J is also unusually difficult to eat. However, surprisingly, it was by far the best-tasting sandwich out of all those that I constructed, presumably because both the peanut butter and the jelly were directly exposed to my taste buds rather than being shielded by the accompanying bread. It is for this reason alone that the sandwich is not given the lowest possible rating based purely on its messiness.

Rating: :D :D

The PB&J Salad

The PB&J Salad represents an attempt to deconstruct traditional notions of what constitutes a PB&J and what constitutes a sandwich. While it consists of identical ingredients to the preceding sandwiches (peanut butter, jelly, and bread), it radically alters their configuration. The bread is first torn into small- to medium-sized pieces. Approximately half of those pieces are dipped in peanut butter, as follows:

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The remaining half are dipped in jelly, as follows:

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Ideally, jelly- and peanut butter-coated pieces are created alternating one at a time of each, rather than two totally separate groups. The are then combined in a bowl and mixed:

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The final product may be eaten with a fork.

Surprisingly, the quality of the PB&J Salad's taste is significantly lower than that of the basic sandwich. I hypothesize that it is the result of insufficient quantities of peanut butter and/or jelly. Future researchers may be interested in exploring the implications of additional quantities, but for the purposes of this experiment, I declare my results to be sufficient.

Rating: :D :D :D

The PB&J Roll

Having finished the PB&J Salad, I had presumed to conclude my experiments and write up this report. However, at the suggestion of my assistant sisterfulness, I decided to proceed with one final item: the PB&J Roll. To construct the PB&J Roll, it is necessary to first remove the crust from a slice of bread, as shown:

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The crusts may be incorporated into a PB&J Salad or consumed on their own. After the crust is removed, the remaining bread is flattened under the thumbs as indicated below:

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The final product should be completely flat and compressed:

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Peanut butter and jelly are then applied in alternating strips:

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The bread is rolled up, beginning at the strip of jelly on the right:

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The finished product takes the form of a roll:

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At this point, the sandwich can be consumed immediately. Alternatively, should the creator so desire, it may be cut into individual slices as follows:

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These smaller slices may be consumed individually as a snack. They also would serve as an excellent item for guests.

Due to the increased density of bread in the PB&J Roll, the ratio of peanut butter and jelly to bread area is much higher, leading to a more intense flavor. Of all the sandwiches prepared in the course of this experiment, the PB&J Roll provided the greatest level of culinary satisfaction.

Rating: :D :D :D :D :D

Conclusion

In the course of this experiment, I have attempted to delineate the various varieties of PB&J traditionally produced, as well as break new ground in innovative PB&J development. The reader is invited to replicate these experiments in his or her own kitchen or lab.

-yayfulness

p.s. I would be remiss if I did not include an entirely gratuitous homage to the greatest comic strip character of all time, who I hold in remembrance in each of my peanut butter jars and who serves as an inspiration and mentor to me via the documentation of his life.

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Let his legacy be remembered always.