Everyone loves a good sandwich, right? Usually the idea of a scrumptious sandwich involves fresh cuts of deli meat with salty, sharp slices of cheese, mayo and mustard, and all the trimmings — red onion slices, fresh lettuce, tomato — okay, I’ll leave it at that, apparently I love a good sandwich. But sometimes, when the fridge is running bare or your just plain hungry and don’t have the patience to layer your two slices of bread with six or seven fresh ingredients, a quirkier, more processed version of sandwich eating beckons:
It’s called lathering one slice of bread with creamy peanut butter and the other slice with a generous smear of mayo, inserting a crisp leaf of, say, romaine lettuce in between, and digging in. I admit, it sounds mildly disgusting, much like most dishes that include mayo, such as the French custom of dipping French fries in mayo or coating cubes of chicken in mayo in chicken salad, or in coleslaw, shreds of carrot and cabbage. But there’s something about the combination of mayo’s eggy, oily tang and peanut butter’s salty, nutty bite that pairs surprisingly well, especially with a crisp piece of lettuce to freshen things up.
I also love this sandwich because I associate it with my grandmother, “Gigi,” and her airy, open, sunlit kitchen where I grew up rifing my way through her pantry cabinets. My grandmother is a healthy eater, a disciplined lady, and a former athlete; she is not the person who comes to mind when you think processed, jarred foods like mayo and peanut butter. Nevertheless, she is the one who introduced me to this indulgent-bordering-on-disgusting combination, laughing off its disgusting vibes as she gets out the jar of mayo, adding, “Just every once in a while.” I don’t know if the sandwich is a vestige of the depression era in which she grew up, or, like casseroles overflowing with processed cheese, a culinary custom native to the Midwest, but regardless, I encourage you to try it. See if this sandwich out of a jar doesn’t knock your socks off, at least once.
Mayo and Peanut Butter Sandwich
2 slices of bread (any kind will do)
Leaf of crisp lettuce
- Spread one slice of bread with a generous layer of mayo.
- Spread the other with a generous layer of peanut butter.
- Place a crisp, freshly washed and dried leaf of lettuce on top of the layer of peanut butter.
- Place the other slice of bread on top and firmly press together. Voilà.