HILLSBOROUGH — Meghan Fitzpatrick's friends gave her puzzled looks when she told them about her son's take on the club sandwich.
But if 9-year-old Charlie Fitzpatrick's creation -- apple, turkey, spinach leaves, bacon and peanut butter -- impresses a panel of judges today, he could win a $25,000 scholarship. The Cameron Park Elementary third-grader is one of five finalists in the annual Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest.
"A lot of my family loves clubs," Charlie said by telephone Wednesday night from New York City. "Since my family likes clubs, that's how I got the inspiration."
Charlie's aunt, Katie Rehkopf, found the contest online.
The family already made club sandwiches at home, Meghan Fitzpatrick said.
"Adding the apple was his idea," she said. "And of course adding the peanut butter was Jif's idea."
This is the sixth year Jif has sponsored the contest.
"These five children, with the help of their parents, have created some deliciously unique peanut butter sandwich creations," J.M. Smucker Co. spokeswoman Maribeth Badertscher said in a news release. "We are thrilled that families across the country are spending quality time together in the kitchen."
Charlie will have to recreate his sandwich for the cameras today.
Professional food stylists will make the versions the judges test because some of the entries require advance cooking, Meghan Fitzpatrick said.
Wednesday was spent rehearsing, with a trip to the ESPN Zone restaurant in New York's Times Square, where Charlie played arcade games.
He faces some stiff competition, including a Crunchy Chinese Fortune Cookie sandwich and something called a Monstwich that slathers peanut butter on chicken and barbecue sauce.
But if he was nervous, Charlie wasn't letting on Wednesday night.
"I've tried it a few times," he said of his club. "I think it's good."