Grilled Peanut Butter

(A favorite from December 20, 2012)

Did you ever have a special dish of your own creation added to a restaurant menu? I did.  Twice.  Here’s number one. . . . 

When I was at Augustana College, I was the quintessential night owl.  I would study (or play cards) until the wee hours. And often, as the second hand approached midnight, I and a few other guys would hitchhike (see 9/4/16) to the Round the Clock Restaurant in downtown Rock Island. And I would order a grilled peanut butter sandwich. With a dill pickle on the side. And a tall glass of milk. The interesting thing was that grilled peanut butter was not on the menu.

One evening at the Round the Clock, I had noticed a “peanut butter & jelly sandwich” on the menu. I was not about to order a PB & J sandwich, but it occurred to me that a grilled peanut butter sandwich might be just the ticket.  We slid into the booth and I ordered a “grilled peanut butter sandwich.” The waitress looked at me like I was a moon rock. I said “same as a grilled cheese but use peanut butter instead of cheese.” I felt like Jack Nicholson in the “Five Easy Pieces” diner scene.   The waitress walked away shaking her head. She used gestures to explain the order at the window to the kitchen.  And she pointed at the goofy-looking kid in the booth. 

After a few weeks of this, when I walked in the door, the waitress would give me that knowing look “grilled peanut butter“? she would ask. I’d nod and smile “yes ma’am.” A few months later, “Grilled Peanut Butter Sandwich” made its debut on the Round the Clock’s menu. And I became a legend.  At least in my own mind.