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It wasn’t exactly the fall of the Alamo, nor the whuppin’ laid on Oklahoma most years by the Texas Longhorns football teams, but there were a few thousand East Texans present Nov. 13, 2010 when the Lone Star State wrestled the world record for the largest peanut butter n’ jelly sandwich away from Oklahoma.
It wasn’t easy but it happened in Grand Saline, which is mainly known for the salt deposits found underground that are distributed world wide.
The event was the brainchild of Keith Parsons, owner of a gourmet peanut butter shop. Surely you didn’t expect he’d be a barber or used car salesman?
Anyway, sections of two streets in the middle of town were blocked off, a festival was held, complete with a Texas favorite (corn dogs) and a nearby Louisiana favorite (gator etouffee) and shortly after noon the bottom slice of bread arrived, resting on a platform hoisted on the front of a common fork lift. The top slice had been there for some time.
Couple folks did a little measuring to make sure it would fit where the show would take place and we thought with some amusement “what do they do if it doesn’t fit?” But it did, by an inch or so, which was excellent.
The crowd began to gather, the barriers were moved to make room for some maneuvering of the fork lift and shortly after 2:30 p.m. the show began.
Buckets of freshly created Nutty’s peanut butter and buckets of Blackburn’s grape jelly were assembled and the fun began.
Common garden tools, a rake and a hoe, were used to spread the ingredients and all went well, with media and the crowd clambering for a close up view.
Then it was time to place the top layer of bread on the “sandwich” and that was more than just a little suspenseful.
It was raised by a fork lift above all the work that had gone before and it was supposed to slide effortlessly onto the waiting PB&J and it didn’t.
We thought to ourselves, if it was easy everybody would do it, and we realized creating the world’s largest PB&J sandwich would be completed without a struggle.
First, a raised lip on the pan it was baked in created a ripple much like that which forms when water runs over an unseen rock just below the surface of a shallow stream.
Once that issue was dealt with and as the bread began to flow onto the sandwich, a sheet of plastic under the bread got caught and bunched up and consternation among the workers and crowd began to rise.
Finally, after some 20 minutes of working on the problem, it was solved by cutting the bread in sections and working the plastic from underneath them until it was removed and no longer an issue.
Well over two hours after it began and to those spectators who remained in the gathering chill, the announcement was made by the official accountant… a new World Record of 1,342 pounds had been reached. That is enough PB&J to feed a one-third-pound sandwich to 4,026 folks.
It easily surpassed the 950-pounder created a little over eight years previously in Oklahoma City.
How does one get their mouth around a sandwich that is approximately eight inches thick? Apparently you don’t. The only eaters we found were using a fork to eat their sandwich much as one would eat birthday cake.
Alas there were no great pictures of children with their faces covered in peanut butter, only folks eating their piece of sandwich out of a Styrofoam container.
Is everything bigger in Texas?
Well, at least PB&J sandwiches are!
The next step is to have it certified by the National Peanut Butter Board in Atlanta, Georgia.
We over-heard one youngster say “that’s a lot of bread” when he got his first look at his sandwich.
It certainly was… a world record!
Then we went home and had a reasonably-sized peanut butter and sweet relish sandwich. Honest! Give that a try and… well maybe you’ll like it.