The Perfect PBJ: Advice from Teenagers

My son is hilari-ass. As long as you never take him seriously. (Obviously.) 

He’s seventeen, so naturally he knows e-HEV-erything and I thought it would be nice if I took notes of the pearls of wisdom he freely gives, for all of you who are not lucky enough to have teenagers in your home. Because I love you. You, my friend, are welcome.

I honestly don’t know how you function without their infinite wisdom anyway, I mean HOW do you DO IT?? How are you able to live your life? How do you know what to do? What to say? What music to listen to? Good GLOB, WHAT TO WEAR?!

HOW do you know how to make a damn Peanut Butter and Jell-ay sandwich??

However you do it, let me tell you, you’re probably DOING IT WRONG.
from watchusplaygames.com

I have been making peanut butter & jelly for this almost-adult for over 17 years now, (and quite a lot, I have always packed his lunch every day since first grade, and neither of us has ever been a big fan of slimy lunch meat,) BUT somehow we did have THIS conversation this morning:

Tinny: “The last time you made me peanut butter & jelly it was bad. You put the least amount of peanut butter anyone could possibly have put. And I like GRAPE jelly, not fruit.  I told my friend <<grab a tissue for this part>>
‘Usually when your mom makes you peanut butter and jelly, it’s perfect. But now, I kick my mom’s ass at making peanut butter and jelly.”

I know, right? OUCH! Burn. Oh, the agony, Calgon take me away! I could NOT stop laughing. It’s been over an hour and I’m still laughing.

I know he meant ‘berry’ instead of fruit, but through gales of laughter I managed:

“First, the GRAPE is commonly considered a fruit. There is very little debate about this.

Second, either we were almost OUT of peanut butter because you ATE it all, or I was thinking I was making one for the little kids, who squish it and get it all over.

Third, I would so totally grab a notebook and make note of all of that if you weren’t SEVENTEEN years old, and your days of me making you sandwiches weren’t pretty much OVER.”

He was probably still salty because I tried a new wake-up method this morning, in which I thought it would be funny to keep throwing his dirty clothes at him, until they formed Mount Filth on top of his head.

That mountain of dirty clothing not only had to smell awful, but what it really did? Was block the light from his eyeballs, making it easier for him to fall back asleep. It did not however block out his swearing, his clothes are not sound-proof. Unforch.

Then, so as to I guess SOFTEN THE BLOW of his PB&J BURN, he said:

“It’s not the worst lunch, one time Dad didn’t have cash so he asked his girlfriend if she would give me cash for lunch, and instead she handed me a Target bag with this [in it]: ONE piece of bologna in between two pieces of bread, five carrots and ONE Oreo in a Ziploc.” 

Uh. Maw. Gawd. Maybe you have to know her and/or know HIM, but do you have ANY idea how DIFFICULT it is not to LAUGH YOUR ASS OFF at that, and instead channel your inner old man and throw down a “Well, that’s better than nothing.” 

I knew this was coming, he said “No, I would rather she just said ‘No’ and gave me nothing.” There is a history, and he is very sensitive to certain kinds of things, but my father would haunt me forever if I hadn’t thrown down:

“Look, I know math is not your thing, it’s not my thing either, but SOME food is always better than NO food. Do you know how many hungry children and people, all over the world, would kill for that food?” Because really.

“No Mom, it’s like she said “Fuck you” with that lunch. To Dad and [to] me. You obviously don’t know how she is.” I do know, but still UGH. By now my stomach is cramping with my stifling of ALL THE LAUGHS.

All I could come up with was:
“Hey, don’t miss the bus. Have a nice day, enjoy your orange marmalade!”

Parenting teens takes a whole different set of skills. Stifling laughter? Is not at the top of my skill set. 

I know now you’re DYING to know how to make THEE Perfect PB&J. Okay, I’ll tell you:

First, get the perfect bread. For me that means any whole grain, but it CANNOT be wheat if it’s for a teen! (My teen anyway.)

Second, only all natural peanut butter, but NOT the kind with all the oil on top because that is “SO gross.” There are plenty of spreadable kinds now w/out oil on top.

Third, either puree grapes & blueberries, and if you do, DO NOT FORGET to BLOT the extra liquid or it “squishes out all over the place.” It is easier to just buy Simply Fruit or Spreadable Fruit, obvi ONLY GRAPE! Duh.

from blog.silive.com
Fourth, apply the peanut butter liberally to both sides, not just ONE as society might pressure you to do. 

I would like to add a picture of the proper form for the visual learners, but Tinny just left with the last pieces of bread we had.

Spread the PB all the way to the crust, but thin out the amount toward the crust so it doesn’t squish out upon biting. 

Add just a light schmear of the fruit/jellay to the middle of ONE PIECE. Not both.

Put the two sides together, cut in half only for immediate consumption. Leave whole if packing a lunch. I wish I didn't have to tell you this, but NEVER cut off the crusts, are you trying to raise people or whiny little sissies??



  1. Trust me, you'll be suppressing laughter well into early adulthood. Longer if they have a child of their own - JUST LIKE THEM!

    1. Most of the time I just laugh, my brain goes into hyper drive when I try NOT to laugh, and it gets worse and worse, but I DO try. That's all ya can do.
      I will LAUGH LOUD and ROBUSTLY (?) when he has a child just like him, just like my parents did with me! It's a rite of passage.

  2. You are one of the most clever writers ever! Joy you have talent, real talent. Your opening line alone is fantastic! Little sister your amazing writer and one of the only reasons I still read facebook everyday. DFILY XO Binky

    1. Awwwwwww shucks, thanks! I knew you would laugh. It's SUPER funny if you know Tinny. He is a stitch.
      DFILY too!

  3. LOL, you are a better woman than me - were I to be presented with that logic I *would* bust out laughing. I can barely contain myself with the 5 yo throws 'tude my way.

  4. Nice! My son, age 3, is a peanut butter and jelly aficionado without the linguistic skills of a 17 year old. I bet he's thinking the same thing. Surely he will appreciate if I implement the ideas here, starting tomorrow morning, roughly 6:15.

    1. Does he tell you with his eyes? My baby tries to have WHOLE conversations with me, but I don't speak Eyeball.
      I hope you keep us posted on the pb&j and how it goes!

  5. I've been on the PB on both slices of bread team ever since my neighbor gave me the heads up. She told me it keeps the jelly from bleeding through the bread. Genius! I have a 13 yo and all of a sudden I'm a total idiot. I told him, if he knows so much, he should do all the cooking. I'm happy to take a brek.

    1. We started doing it just b/c we both like the PB more than the J, but it IS logistically superior. I love your response to your 13 yr old!! hahahaha Hopefully he WILL help, at that age you never know what you're going to get. Before then, they love to help. As soon as they are old enough to ACTUALLY be helpful, it gets more painful to get them to ACTUALLY help :)

  6. Hhmmmmm, I'll try anything once. Besides, my teenager DOES need to gain weight. I know. I didn't get any of that in the family gene pool.

  7. The Captain insists on spreading the jelly side of the bread with regular butter if it needs to be packed in a lunch, so the jam doesn't soggify the bread. GROSS.

    1. hahaha I've heard that before! I guess if you're a big jell-ay person, that's a good thing. I find the coating of peanut butter both sides is a great buffer!

  8. When my oldest was about 3, he got mad at me for using a knife to get the peanut butter out of the jar while making his PB&J. He said that it's not the way Dad does it, and it's not right! I didn't do well at not laughing at the insanity of the discussion. I left him to eat the bad sandwich or nothing, and though I don't remember exactly, I bet he chose nothing.

    You're not alone! :)

    1. They are entertaining, are they not? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? hahahaha thanks for coming by!

  9. Oh MY! I can see I have MUCh to look forward to ;)
    Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up