“People will be so peanut butter and jealous when they see your great meal!” said Lennon Zest.
Photo by Amit Roth
While many professional chefs experiment with revamping classic recipes, very rarely do chefs attempt to renovate the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Colloquially known as the PB&J, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is regarded by many Americans as a household staple. However, one home chef by the name of Lennon Zest learned that with “puberty, male pattern baldness, and grandiose delusions” comes a change in taste.
“I was finding my family’s recipe to be hard to swallow, among other things,” Zest cited as his inspiration for his three-day recipe, which was posted on his TikTok. Thus, he set out to create a recipe described by viewers as “thorough,” “unique,” and a “hate crime against childhood and happiness.”
Zest’s first step was physical and mental preparation. “Mindset is everything. When my chef’s whites are on and my mise en place is ready, I am no longer in my mother’s kitchen.” He later clarified, “mise en place is French for ‘set up,’” which for him consists of a northern hard rock maple wood cutting board, a set of stainless steel knives, a molten pig iron skillet, and a banana juicer with 15 different settings.
He began by cutting a loaf of artisan bread. “I make sure to source all my ingredients from organic, cruelty-free vendors.” He assured his viewers that no animals were harmed in the making of the bread. After slicing his bread into three-eighths inch pieces (Zest recommends using a ruler or the measurement app on your smartphone for precision), he placed them onto his well-oiled molten pig iron skillet. “I use buffalo milk butter for extra flavor. Regular cow milk butter is fine too.”
“Is vegan butter okay?” asked TikTok user iHurtPlants. The comment accumulated over 4,000 likes in the span of 24 hours, but Zest has not yet responded.
After properly toasting the bread, Zest proceeded to lather the slices. “I’m actually quite allergic to peanuts, so I will be omitting the peanut butter,” Zest said. Instead, he took out a jar of Vegemite. “This is ve-gee-moight, it’s Australian. I like to use it as an alternative.” He then grabbed a jar of boysenberry jelly. “Don’t be afraid to put a lot on your bread. It’s not boysen-ous!” Zest joked. After the sandwich was assembled, Zest placed it in the fridge to marinate overnight, allowing for full flavor absorption. He ended the video with “Like and comment for day two!”
Day two consisted of cutting the sandwich into “pieces small enough for a cartoon character’s mouth” and blending it with Chateau Margaux red wine. According to Zest, red wine pairs well with the nuttiness of the “ve-gee-moight” and the tartness of the boysenberry jelly. The result is a pancake batter-like mixture, which was cooked on the molten pig iron skillet.
Viewers were quick to respond with critical comments like “he’s just teaching us how to make pancakes,” and genuine questions such as “is this recipe safe for babies?” or “why is a banana juicer required if it’s never used in the recipe?” In response, Zest shared the final day of his recipe. He spread jelly on one piece of pancake and Vegemite on the other. “The end product? A glorious, layered PB&J that doesn’t make my throat close. They said it couldn’t be done!”
His recipe has sparked outrage amongst Australians, self-proclaimed “PB&J Purists,” and the creator of the hit song “Peanut Butter Jelly Time.” This has not deterred Zest, however, as he is currently working on a three-day cereal and milk recipe.