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From the moment Ina Garten stepped onto our television screens (and our cookbook shelves), she has shown us how classic, everyday cuisine can become something special. Whether that means updating a recipe or serving it in her Hamptons garden, she has always shown fans how to add a little extra fanfare to the fundamentals. So when we saw this photo of a glorious peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Ina’s Instagram, we knew she had done it again.

“Lunch date!” she wrote in the caption to a mouthwatering rendition of the classic PB&J sandwich. The sandwiches, she explains, were packed for the drive down to the beach where she and Jeffrey sit in the car together, eat their picnic, and listen to a podcast. “Simple pleasure,” she tagged it, underlying how easily they turned a typical lunch into a special experience.

The commenters were very impressed with Ina’s take on the classic lunchbox staple. “Why does your PB&J look like Henry Cavill in a tuxedo and mine looks like my dad in a leisure suit circa 1978?” one commenter asked. Another commenter said: “I love how you make a pb + j look like the best sandwich in the world.”

Like so much of what Ina does, the reason the sandwich looks so good comes from the time and care put into the small details. So what’s Ina Garten’s secret to the best PB&J? Apparently the sandwich consists of Pepperidge Farm white bread, Skippy creamy peanut butter, and what she calls her “one indulgence,” Eli Zabar’s “amazing raspberry preserves.” Another commenter pointed out that the bread is lightly toasted — which is a pro move, because it not only enhances the flavor of the sandwich and adds a bit of texture, it also keeps the bread from soaking through with the spreads.

Naomi Tomky


Seattle-based writer Naomi Tomky uses her unrelenting enthusiasm for eating everything to propel herself around the world as an award-winning food and travel writer.

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