The art of the condiment spread

Properly applying condiments to toast is something “The Pearl” simply doesn’t understand.
“For goodness sakes, Elliott! You’ve got nearly half of that jar of jam on just one slice of toast. Not to mention all the butter and peanut butter you put on first,” stated the Pearl vehemently, grabbing the knife and waving it at me.
“All you really need is just a taste applied like this,” she demonstrated, applying a skim to her slice.
It didn’t even reach the edges of the slice and looked positively anemic.
I took the knife back and put the finishing touched on my piece de resistance.
“There! That’s more like it,” I said and took a giant bite—the surplus jam smearing the side of my face and the layer of peanut butter gluing my tongue to the roof of my mouth.
The Pearl snorted her disgust and gave me a withering stare as I masticated the layered confection into a swallowable consistency. Washing it down with a slug of coffee, I managed to clear my vocal cords.
“You have to understand the toast is just the medium, not the main object of the exercise,” I explained.
The Pearl just snorted in disgust once more.
“Its purpose is to convey the confection to the mouth,” I stressed.
“Putting a smear of jam on the toast is not only a waste of good jam. It’s an insult to the toast and the jam—not to mention the peanut butter,” I added, patiently showing I was willing to pass on my knowledge on the subject.
The Pearl showed no indication of grasping my line of reasoning.
I started to apply the same treatment to the second slice. The Pearl grabbed for the peanut butter, but she was way too slow (and I already had the jam out of her reach).
“If you really want to see this done properly, you should drop around at the Bakery in Drizzle Creek and watch the Runt trowel on an application. An absolute art form,” I advised the Pearl, who was not pointedly ignoring me.
“As a matter of fact, the whole crew around the debating table is pretty good, except for Pickle, who can’t override his frugal nature and puts half his allocation in a napkin to take home for a later snack.
“Why, even Scrounger’s youngster, Andy, can layer it on. Of course, he still does get a fair portion of it on his shirt, hair, and face, but he’s learning,” I remarked as I licked up the last bits from my plate.
“I don’t know why you even bother with the toast? Why don’t you take it direct from the jar to your mouth to your gut?” asked the Pearl with more than a little sarcasm.
“Decorum,” I explained wearily.
“Not only is it unsanitary and uncouth to be double-dipping your knife into the jar, but there’s also the danger of cutting your tongue,” I surmised as I thought for a minute, then dipped my knife in for another gob of peanut butter and immediately raised it to my waiting pie hole.
The blow to the back of my head was totally unexpected—and uncalled for.

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