There are a lot of great nutritional supplements to help you not feel 100% awful when you’re feeling 100% awful, stuck out there on your bicycle a long way from home and tired. One of the products that I like a lot is made by BonkBreaker. It is a compacted brown thing called Peanut Butter & Jelly. If you look at the ingredients, it is made of peanuts and jelly and a couple other things which are healthy-ish.
I wondered how come I like this snack so much. Then I got to talking to my friend Greg Leibert, whose last name everyone mispronounces, about it. Greg works for BonkBreaker. “Every day I went to school my mom made me a PB&J sandwich,” he said.
“Me, too,” I said.
“Until I was eighteen.”
“I think my mom might have stopped before that.”
“And after I grew up I kept on liking PB&J.”
“Best food ever.”
“Now, I do hate eggs and fish,” he said.
“Then let’s not make an egg ‘n fish BonkBreaker,” I said.
“Right,” he said, wincing.
“You ever notice how hard it is to make a PB&J sandwich like your mom used to make?” I said.
“Impossible,” he said. “Can’t be done.”
“Why do you suppose that is?”
“Simple,” he said. “Self-made PB&J sandwiches are processed different from how your mom’s sandwich was processed.”
“They use more chemicals now or something?”
“Nope. It’s the post-sandwich-making-processing.”
“Remember when you were a little kid and you got to school early to play out on the slab with your buddies?”
“What’s the first thing you did?”
“Threw down my crap and ran like hell to join the game.”
“Exactly. And what was it you threw down?”
“Brown paper sandwich bag?”
“Well, that was post-processing step number one: Throw down bag with sandwich onto asphalt.”
“Sure. And then for the next couple of hours until lunch which they always had at 10:30 for who knows why, I mean, who eats lunch at 10:30, that bag got jostled and stuffed into your desk, and pulled out, and dropped on the lunch table, and maybe there was an apple or an orange in there too, jostling around on top of the sandwich like crazy. Right?”
“So you’re sitting there at lunch, you pull out your sandwich, it’s in a little sandwich baggie, and what do you see?”
“I never saw a sandwich in a sandwich baggie when I was a kid.”
“Come to think of it, neither did I.”
“Wax paper. They hadn’t invented baggies then.”
“You’re right. And never tinfoil, either.”
“Yup. So what did you see inside that wax paper?”
“Of course, but remember what it was like? Smushed into a pancake. Jelly oozing out the edges. All the PB dried up because the oil had been absorbed by the soggy bread.”
“Kind of a mush sandwich.”
We reflected for a minute, both of us getting real hungry. “So the problem with homemade PB&J is that we don’t mush them down?” I asked.
“Kind of but not really. If you smush it with one big grunch on the kitchen counter it just turns to goo. But a proper Kid PB&J gets about 23.89 compactions between home and 10:30 AM. Each one of those mini-squishes gradually flattens it. The sandwich does its thing, as it gets gently mashed a little more each time. By 10:30 lunchtime it’s a perfect sandwich. Can’t do that in five minutes at the kitchen counter.”
He handed me a PB&J BonkBreaker. It was mashed, all right. I bit into it. Memories came flooding back.
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