Kitchen Hacks

The Food Network "Hack" Confusing the Internet

September 29, 2017

I’m always down to learn a new kitchen hack. Ideally they save time and make the task at hand easier. I don’t need to extol their benefits because I know you know how great a hack can be. But what happens when a hack complicates and requires more time? Is a hack still a hack if it makes you work more?

It’s a modern day philosophical conundrum. And one the internet was forced to mull over this week after the release of a positively confounding clip by the Food Network. The “hack” in question is brought to you by Bev Weidner, a food blogger and Food Network contributor. I must preface: the hack was well-meaning in nature. Weidner wanted a way to simplify sandwich prep, a quick method for preparing a peanut butter sandwich that wouldn’t tear the toast or make a mess. But what emerged had everyone puzzled. What emerged was the peanut butter slice.

Weidner suggests spreading peanut butter across parchment paper, rolling it out flat, and freezing it overnight. The next day, you’re left with a thin slab of peanut butter paste. You can lift it, place it on a slice of bread and sprinkle it with whatever your heart desires (Bev's heart desires honey and chocolate sprinkles).

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Spreading peanut butter across bread takes all of six seconds. Weidner’s “innovative peanut butter slice hack” looks like it could take around six…minutes, not to mention the overnight wait. It seemed Weidner had taken a simple wrist movement and expanded it into a process that involved rolling pins and parchment paper. The internet was confused. And rightfully so. The original Instagram post has received over 2,000 comments (in comparison to an average that hovers somewhere around 600) and media outlets began chiming in.

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Top Comment:
“why aren't the PB companies doing this now, producing & selling PB slices like Kraft American cheese slices? Would you buy it?”
— Mary K.

In theory, the peanut butter slice is not a horrible idea. It does sit perfectly on the piece of toast and takes toppings pretty well, like cold, creamy canvas. But it seems like a lot of work for something that was never really too complex to begin with. If it ain’t broke...

What do you think? Would you give this "hack" a chance? Let us know in the comments.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


cesmomof6 December 22, 2017
OK, practicality issues aside, who actually slather on a 1/4 in thick layer of peanut butter on a sandwich!?!
Mine are substantially thinner layers. So much so that smearing on parchment and freezing would be ridiculously tedious and difficult to emulate on parchment, though I'm betting it would freeze a lot faster too.
Pete October 18, 2017
FFS.......get a life "wifester"
Michelle E. October 7, 2017
I don’t think the internet viewers were confused at all. As above, most didn’t think this “hack” made an already simple task easier
Janet M. October 7, 2017
This "hack" is so bizarre, I visited her blog. She describes herself, among other things as a "wifester." 'Nuff said!
DreevesDeluxe October 6, 2017
Anymore, the word "Hack" is just code for clickbait!
Mary K. October 6, 2017
why aren't the PB companies doing this now, producing & selling PB slices like Kraft American cheese slices? Would you buy it?
Ernie October 6, 2017
This is a stupid idea!
How many billions of PR&J sandwiches have been simply made w/o a lot of hoopla.
Perhaps the ("hacker" should buy a more substantial bread.
Oy vey!
Anthony October 6, 2017
Who has room in a freezer to do this? Not to mention that it seems to be one of the sillier things I've seen come from a food blogger. I've never had a problem spreading peanut butter without tearing bread, even when we still used commercially produced PB. If nothing else, it got her clicks and comments.
Melinda M. October 6, 2017
I'm thinking if you have like 3 or more PBs to make every day, it could be a time saver. You roll out all your PB on Sunday and voila, instant sammies all week long? Who's with me?
Halli October 5, 2017
I hadn't seen anything about this until now, but it does make sense for "natural" peanut butter and very soft bread that just tears when you try to spread really hard, thick peanut butter on it. Of course at that point once you roll it and can pick it up as a slice, you could just use it then, so I don't see what the point of freezing it is unless you need it to stay colder longer, but I don't think this is such a crazy or useless idea if you have really stiff, hard "natural" peanut butter and really soft bread.
John B. October 5, 2017
"Hack" comes from the engineering world and it refers to something used or modified in an a way that was not originally intended by the designer. Associating hacks with time saving or efficiency may be a common assumption, but it's an incorrect one. For example, "hacking" a computer network is neither time saving nor more efficient than logging in with a regular ID and password, but it is still an unorthodox way of gaining access. A phone "hack" is more about new uses and capabilities that saving time. Similarly, a "life hack" is about unorthodox ways of approaching a common task or problem. This may be very inefficient, but it's definitely a "hack"
Deb October 6, 2017
You make sense, and to me you're 100% correct. The problem comes when people begin to associate things in their head that have no basis in reality. Those saying this isn't a hack clearly believe a hack can only be a hack if it saves time. I'm guessing it's because that's how hacks are presented in today's social media. Regardless, I have found most hacks aren't worth the trouble it takes to read about them. I do like the comment about freezing the bread and spreading the pb on it before defrosting. Seems back in the 60's my mom made sandwiches that way because we took our lunch and didn't have fridges or all these other cutesie things to keep them in. They would be perfect by lunchtime. But yeah, I agree that in the end, this is technically a hack.
rox L. October 5, 2017
I keep my bread in the freezer and when making p-nut butter sandwiches; I don't thaw the bread; I spread the p-nut butter on frozen slices, no tearing, and let the bread thaw and warm to room temp before serving.
Monica B. October 6, 2017
You should be the hack blogger.
Mary K. October 6, 2017
In junior high I got two slices of frozen bread from the freezer each morning, spread on the mustard & placed on the slices of salami. Off to school with my brown back sandwich. The bread had thawed by lunchtime.
Mary-Ann October 5, 2017
It certainly is a novel idea. Worth noting. But a hack it is definitely not!
Merry M. October 5, 2017
Freeze the bread, spread peanut butter, wrap. By lunch the sandwich is perfect
Amy October 5, 2017
Love this!
Deb October 6, 2017
I mentioned in my reply to another post, my mom did this back in the 60's - the freezing bread, making sandwiches, then they'd defrost and be perfect by lunchtime. Goes to show, not everything on the internet is either unique, original, or practical.
Mary K. October 6, 2017
I did this same thing everyday for my school lunch. Didn't realize it was so innovative still today. ha.
Sam M. October 5, 2017
Coincidence that I read this one hour after trying to “hack” enough brittle peanut butter out of the refrigerated jar to make a sandwich. (I failed.) the confusion lies with those who still use heavily sugared and hydrogenated peanut butter such as Jif and Peter Pan. Peanut butters containing only peanuts and salt will go rancid if left out, but can become brittle and hard when refrigerated (if the oil that separates at room temp. hasn’t been stirred in thoroughly). I think this idea is a brilliant time-saver and frustration-eliminator!
Peg W. October 5, 2017
Put the jar in the microwave for 10 seconds. Duh.
Barb October 5, 2017
You can only heat a product up so often, as each time hastens it's journey to rancidness.
Lisa L. October 9, 2017
I use natural peanut butter all the time, never refrigerate it, and have never had a jar go rancid.
cyndi October 5, 2017
While I agree that this is an unnecessary "hack", I'm more worried about the negative attention this article creates. So many of the responses are mean-spirited. There's enough of that already. Stop it.
Peg W. October 5, 2017
Stupid ideas deserve criticism. This idea was surpassingly stupid and wasteful.
MissLindyS October 5, 2017
Oh come on now, this isn't real, IS IT? PLEASE TELL ME IT ISN'T. PRETTY PLEASE.
laurie October 5, 2017
This goes right along side Convfefe!
Sue W. October 5, 2017
I just use a spoon to get it out of the jar and a rubber spatula to spread it on the bread....simple and no sticky slimey knife handle!
Gregg S. October 5, 2017
Don't waste my time with such stupid questions. I got sh*t to get done.