In the summer of 1975, my Grandma Iva was besieged daily by a gaggle of eight hungry adolescents during lunchtime.
As long as there was peanut butter in the cabinet, she didn't mind my friends standing outside the kitchen window begging for food and ice-cold Kool-Aid.
Thinking hungry kids will eat just about anything, my grandmother took advantage of our eagerness to eat.
We ate old-fashioned peanut butter on white bread (plain and toasted) sandwiches for a few days. A few of my friends scoffed at the use of wheat bread, but liked it when she toasted it.
"It tastes nutty," my friend Larry used to say.
A spread of one of my grandmother's homemade jellies gave us a wide array of yummies to eat for several weeks.
Then she got creative with our lunches.
We liked it when she stirred chocolate syrup into the peanut butter and served it on white or wheat bread. It was really good when it melted on warm toast.
She also made a modified s'more once by making sandwiches with chocolate bars, wheat toast and chocolate peanut butter and then baking them in the oven.
Bananas sliced on top was good too. My friends Jane and Jimmy especially liked that.
Another fruit to grace our lunchtime was strawberries, but only a couple of times. That is how we found out Jane was allergic to strawberries.
Caramel was a different flavor, but not one of my favorites.
Once, when we thought we were grown up enough to have coffee, my grandmother sprinkled a touch of instant coffee granules on top of the peanut butter.
Some of us liked it; others didn't pretend to be an adult near my grandmother anymore.
But one rainy afternoon in late July, my Grandma Iva served her ultimate peanut butter sandwich, and my favorite. It was a Chocolate Peanut Butter Monte Cristo.
(WARNING: This isn't a recommended treat for someone on a diet! Then again, according to my grandmother, you only get one shot at life and every once-in-a-while you need to splurge.)
Toast and butter both sides of 16-18 slices of bread (wheat is the best). Spread a quarter-inch layer of peanut butter on one side and lay a chocolate bar on top before adding the second piece of toast to all the sandwiches.
Whip three eggs, a 1/3-cup of sweet cream (milk works, but not as sweet), three tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon each of real vanilla and cinnamon and a pinch or two of salt. Put the egg mixture in a flat dish with edges.
Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium-high heat (use a spray coating to help keep sandwiches from sticking to save on calories, but my grandma used real butter) while finishing the sandwiches.
Dip each sandwich into the egg mixture briefly to coat and then move immediately to the hot skillet. Let the sandwich brown on each side before turning, adding a little butter if necessary.
Remove from the heat to a plate and sprinkle lightly with confectioner's sugar.
Cut in half and serve with a cold glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream for an extra special treat. Don't forget the chocolate syrup for dipping!