Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ah, time for a PB & J

I might be taking things a little too seriously. The post below reads somewhat like an abstract.

One key of the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich is the balance of jelly peanut butter and bread. If you have too much or not enough of one ingredient, the enjoyment curve goes down (Figure 1).

So I happen to have exceedingly thick, tasty bread at the moment. It's a good thing, but I ran into a problem assembling a PB&J. When I increased the amount of peanut butter and (more importantly) the jelly to compensate, it became an unmanageable (though tasty) mess. The jelly is not viscous enough to support a thick deposit within the sandwich structure without squirting disastrously. This traditional structure shall be known as Mark I.

So I tried an experiment: Walls of peanut butter surrounding the lake of jelly. Well, the first couple bites of the Mark II sandwich were good, however the experiment did eventually fail since eating the PB walls rendered them useless. Back to the drawing boards.

Mark III was less than successful, results wise. I mixed the thicker PB with the jelly, to try to stabilize it. However, warmed by the toasted bread and thinned by the jelly, the entire mixture was too runny. More research needed.

*** Update***

Another day, another shot at perfection. Tis time for stabilization, mechanically! For background, it seems that bananas would be logical for this use. They have a solid form that can easily be sliced and shaped, however they also liquify under moderate pressure. That means they'll blend with teh jelly in every bite when the sandwich is bitten. Importantly, bananas also have a mild, sweet flavor that will not adversely effect the affect of the sandwich. 

The bananas were implemented into the Mark IV without much difficulty. Cut into long stringers, arranged to form a border and placed paralel with even spacing within to prevent jelly movement worked moderately well. However, it is recommended to eat into the sandwich in a more perpendicular direction to the stringers. Doing otherwise could still cause forceful jelly evacuation from the structure.

At this point in the research it should be noted that I've consumed my entire supply of crunchy PB; however, reserves of smooth remain.

The Mark V is like the previous sandwich, but taking the change in PB into effect by adding some crunch in the form of crisp julienned apple. I used the same initial structure and layout as the Mark IV, but then added a healthy dose of apple. The random layout of the apple, especially as it was pressed into the jelly/banana matrix had the added benefit of increased stabilization. 

The Mark V sandwich is fully successful in solving all design proces problems encountered in the Mark I sandwich. While accomplishing its goals, the revised sandwich adds non-traditional ingredients that may or may not meet widespread approval in the wider PB&J community. On the other hand, the Mark V also does not comprehensively examine other potential ingredients for utility in structural stabilization. These issues need to be explored in further research.


  1. The Mark V sandwich definitely demonstrates how the appropriate use of roving in a fiberglass setup will improve the integrity of the project.


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