An Expert and Caustic Guide to PB&Js

Because you fools need my help.

[For those who want to listen to this on-the-go, the audio version should be up on Apple’s podcast website soon. You can also listen here.]

The discourse on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches over the past 24 hours has been abysmal.

I'm here to set the record straight.

There should be at least a 2:1 ratio of peanut butter to jelly, but no more than a 4:1 ratio. The only exception to this rule is if one is using *two* end pieces of bread (rare, obvi) and even then, jelly should still not exceed 40%.

Some of you chaos agents will defend a 1:1 even spread between the two.

This is wrong. Peanut butter is the leading lady in this romcom. Jelly is the best-friend-slash-sidekick who has a few funny one-liners and may deliver the wise speech at the climax of this journey after peanut butter cries to her over a glass of wine at 3am, but she is still second fiddle and although winning plaudits for her character acting, she will ultimately spend the rest of her days doing guest spots on "CSI: Idaho" or whatever the fuck.

Let's move on.

Grape jelly will always be the standard, but strawberry is permissible. Apricot and other variants are needlessly deviant and reflect an absence of stability.

Smooth, household-name-brand peanut butter is the standard. You got your JIF, you got your Peter Pan, you got your Skippy. Hell, you even got your Planters. All these are acceptable.

Crunchy peanut butter is chaotic. It is the official peanut butter of messy clowns. It is good for a spoon snack, not for a PB&J.

Fancy peanut butter is too fussy. Don’t buy the fancy peanut butter from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc. Yes, it is healthier, but you’re making a damn PB&J. You’re already rolling the dice with your heart health; you might as well have the fatty shit and enjoy life a bit.

Also: I have to stir the fancy peanut butter before using it because the oil separates easily? And I'm paying a marked-up price for that?

Fuck you, that's what I say to that.

Never, ever, ever use the swirl product in which the peanut butter and jelly have been pre-mixed. That is sacrilege.

Smucker’s Uncrustables are disgusting and clear evidence of late stage capitalism.

Let’s talk about bread:

Both whole wheat and white are fine, but you have to accept you’re gonna get an occasional side-eye for the wheat.

Croissant substitute is orgasmic and should be used as often as available.

People who like the potato-based bread are clearly sociopaths. I will not yield from this opinion. I'm sorry our friendship has to end.

Use two separate utensils for the PB and the J instead of ham-fisting one butter knife into the sacred chambers of these spreads.

My god, who hurt you?

Respect the process. Give both spreads the attention and separate utensils they deserve. Using one knife is gross, you goddamn heathens.

Squeeze jelly bottles are not only acceptable but preferred for convenience.

Squeeze peanut butter bottles are gross. What is wrong with you?

Some of you kinky motherfuckers are gonna ask if marshmallow spread or honey can be substituted for the jelly.

Of course you can. They're fucking delicious. But that's no longer a PB&J -- stop centering your kinks and derailing my gracious tutorial.

Listen, what I’m about to say is especially controversial:

PB&Js should be eaten within 10 minutes of being prepared, tops.

I am highly suspicious of people who pack PB&Js for a lunch that is several hours away, let alone half an hour.

This is self-sabotage. It is a cry for help.

Finally, I leave you with this:

Those of you putting peanut butter in the fridge instead of the pantry are psychotic.

No, I don’t care that you read somewhere it’s the thing to do.

It is always wrong.

You are welcome.


Hi, I’m Charlotte Clymer, and this is Charlotte’s Web Thoughts, my Substack. It’s completely free to access and read, but if you feel so moved to support my writing, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription: just $7/month or save money with the $70/annual sub. You can also go way above and beyond by becoming a Founding Member at $210.

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