my arms taste salty, there’s no escaping the humid drip of a summer afternoon. what better lunch could i offer myself than a refreshing peanut butter and jelly sandwich? as a child i wanted my mother to make them for me, just like all my american friends’ moms did. in our house, as in all my polish friends’ houses, a sandwich meant one slice of bread, butter, and a slice of ham or tomato on top. on television i noticed that the peanut butter and jelly was usually served with a tall glass of cold milk, not tea. at school, peanut butter and jelly was always one of the lunch options. three neat triangles of soft white bread, red jelly, and delightfully squishy brown peanut butter. i tried to imitate this geometric ideal at home, but the rye bread we often had in the cupboard was oval, and thus made poor approximations of triangles. peanut butter was rarely around in our kitchen, i had to beg for my mother to buy it. and the jelly i used was never grape jelly or red jelly of unknown fruit origins. our cabinet alternated between prune butter, orange marmalade, gooseberry jam… not the right fit, but it was close enough. i savored every bite.