Friday, April 23, 2010

I am not an engineer.

I am not even all that bright.

Here's how you know: When I set out to make 25 star-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this morning, it never once occurred to me that there might be more than one way to do it.

My ever-so-brilliant way was to first spread the peanut butter and jelly on the bread. Then I took a star-shaped cookie cutter and pressed it into the bread. The result? Three times out of five, the peanut butter and jelly squirted out of the sandwich, like lava from a little PB&J volcano.

I finally figured out if I chilled the sandwiches before I cut them with the cookie cutter, and if I spread very thin layers of peanut butter and jelly, the volcano action was lessened. Still, the stars came out squished and kind of, well, not so much like stars. More like starfish that had crawled out of the sea onto the roadway and immediately been run over. By a truck.

The good news is, first graders will eat anything (the ones who eat, anyway). They're cute as the dickens, but have a very unrefined aesthetic sense. Had I been the only contributor to the party (in honor of Kevin Henkes, by the way, author of the fabulous Lily's Purple, Plastic Purse and many, many other fine books) of peanut butter and jelly star-shaped sandwiches, I would have never had known that it is in fact possible to make a perfectly civilized looking one.

But no, another mom also made peanut and butter and jelly star-shaped sandwiches, and hers were not at all smushy-looking or unappealing. After examining them a few moments it hit me: She cut the bread first before spreading on the PB&J.

Of course, she's a former Supreme Court law clerk, so she's going to have the jump on the likes of me when it comes to, well, anything. But still. How could I have been so clueless? Of course you cut the bread out first. Of course.

Well, bless the little children for eating my stars anyway. Bless them for sometimes reaching over the other PB&J stars to pick one of my ooey, gooey ones. Bless Will for not caring that his mom is a total goofball.

And bless Kevin Henkes and his wonderful Lily, who wears red cowboy boots, just like me.


Susan said...

Our family's favorite Kevin Henkes book is Chester and Wilson. In that one, Lily wears a terrific disguise. Maybe you could be like Lily and wear a great disguise when the former Supreme Court law clerk is near and providing the snacks of an overachiever. If nothing else, it would give all the moms at Our Fine School someting to discuss, which to me is the whole point anyway.

Tracy said...

There is nothing for your intelligence and confidence like working in a place where 90% of the people have a Uni degree....and you don't. There's a recipe for feeling dumb, if ever I saw one.

Frances, you know why you didn't cut the bread first? Because it would have taken twice as long to spread it. Really, could you imagine fiddling around with all those star points? I would've done it just like you did. Like I said though, I don't have a Uni degree, so we're probably the same kind of dumb. And I bet the kids chose yours because they DID look mooshy and full of yummy gooey stuff.

Pom Pom said...

Oh, Frances. You are the BEST! I love Lily's Purple Plastic Purse. I think it is hilarious.

Angela said...

Well, until you pointed it out, I'd have done it 'your' way too, I think.
But as I am the only one who eats pb&j sandwiches round here, i go for the biggest slice of bread I can, no fancy bits cut out, thankyou!
Having just discovered there is a thing called the 'Lazy Caterers Sequence' I am thinking of starting a membership club [care to join with me?]!

I know NOTHING of KH and Lily- must check them out
weekend blessings xx

Gumbo Lily said...

As I'm reading this, I'm thinking, "How else would you do it?" (cut the star sammies) I can't imagine cutting star bread and THEN adding PBJ. Actually, I would've just made regular PBJ's and cut them into triangles.

I'm not familiar with Henkes.