Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise: The Ad Campaign
The Inspiration of Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise
I saw the ad above online and something snapped into place. My path unfurled in front of me; a calling beckoned. I needed to test these ungodly abominations. All six of them. In full serving.
Rules: No hiding peanut butter or mayonnaise. Must slather. No additional condiments (mustard, Sriracha). No additional spreads (Nutella, jams).
Double Crunch: PB+M, Bacon, Round-Cut Pickles, Fried Egg, Jalapeño Bits, Everything Bagel
The first chomp sent a message: Ad men would never lie to me! PB+M are terrific together! A new addition to my Saturday morning sandwich rotation! Not even a quarter of the way in, it glommed onto me that the gobs of PB ensured that every chew is labored; every swallow slow.
There’s egg yolk, mayonnaise, and a familiar shame ensnarled in my unkempt beard, but I cannot halt for fear of fear setting in. The bagel let me down in ways I thought were reserved for Father’s Day gift-giving. The myriad of oniony, peppery, and salty bits made for a flavor confetti that was at best overwhelming and regret-inducing at worst.
I drag my “Umami Pairing Chart” to the Recycling Bin, it can no longer be trusted. This recipe was My Rock, I was convinced the formulaic success of eggs and bacon would translate. George Washington Carver mocks my naivety. I should have asked The Father or The Stranger for strength beforehand. “You fool!” He cackled, “Your Gods are not recognized here.” By the last bite, I’m relieved in a way for which you’d usually pay $50/hr. The boyish optimism that surrounded the morning is no more. There are poppy seeds settling into the rivets of the keyboard. I’ve made a terrible mistake.
Verdict: 2 out of 10. 3 points for ambition, -2 points for execution, 10 points for Gryffindor
Pineapple Topper: PB+M, Canned Pineapple Slices, (Not quite) Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, Spiced Ham, Banana
Took a couple laps around the track, shaved the shame-trap beard, lightly reflected on what went wrong the first time. I’m feeling spry. Spry as only a tested infantryman can be. Hubris proved a flimsy defense.
I cautiously maintain hope that mayonnaise and peanut butter can be married; that some nameless copywriter didn’t dupe the masses. To my surprise…these bite-sized sammiches are quite scrumptious. The squishy pineapple medallions are a wonderful foil to the sticky peanut spread. My portion control has been nightmarish, and by the 4th slider, my gut is searing with malcontent.
Verdict: Worth serving at an off-brand Tupperware party
Apple Fandango: PB+M, Rome apple, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Plum Marmalade, Cinnamon Raisin toast
Out of necessity, I’ve lowered the A/C by 3 degrees and discarded my socks. It’s barely 1:30PM and I’ve already taken a nap that bordered on hibernation. I’m buoyant on the heels of a “successful” sandwich. I’ve opted for plum marmalade opposite mayonnaise to create a structured stack of cinnamon raisin, held together by peanut butter mortar. Lightly-caramelized apple slices peppered with cinnamon and nutmeg serve as the gooey guts. It’s profoundly delicious. I’d somersault off my perch if I wasn’t so sure I’d lose my lunch in the same motion.
The mayonnaise is only noticeable when an errant glop dribbles onto your lip. Otherwise, it amplifies the richness of peanut butter while simultaneously cutting the harsh stickiness. It’s wonderful; worthy of lunch boxes everywhere. I’m astonished. Two success in a row means Double Crunch is the outlier. I may have outwitted myself by placing such a buffet buffer between the peanut butter and mayo, the two play off each other surprisingly well.
Verdict: Guilty of being delicious
Crazy Combo: PB+M, Genoa Salami, Liverwurst, Spiced Ham, Sour cream and onion chips, Hard-boiled Egg, Yellow Onion, Lettuce, Jewish Rye
Oy vey, I’m comically stuffed. Having now hit on back-to- back servings, the true test lies in powering through the remaining spreads. It’s a little after 6:30PM, and I’ve taken on mayonnaise’s complexion. The heartiness of PB+M wears heavy on my respiratory system. My daily meditations are broken by fits of mayo sweats, flashpoint irritability, and tummy grumbles. Still, I persevere. Crazy Combo is a bastardization of my after-school special, so I’ve added my all-time favorite deli meat into the fold: liverwurst.
Again, I’m flabbergasted by just how solid peanut butter and mayonnaise work as a tandem. They have this innate chemistry you’d gawk at on Dancing With the Stars. I called my mom to tell her of my pursuit. She’s the first person to corroborate PB+M sandwiches, and apparently they were eaten along with butter and sugar sandwiches back in the mid-60s. I openly plead for death as my intestines urge me to be reasonable.
Verdict: Best Sandwich in a Supporting Role nominee
Funny Face: PB+M, Raisins, Carrot straws, Whole Wheat Bread
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
– Alan Seeger
Verdict: Burn them all
Lunchbox Special: PB+M, Wonderbread
It’s pretty good.
Verdict: I’m going to bed.