Lunch, A Tomato SandwichPosted: July 29, 2008
“Three months of high summer — July, August, and September — I relish fat, red, and ripe tomatoes off the backyard vines. Homegrown Tomato Red with the smell and taste of the sun and earth packed inside.” This passage is from my essay “Tomato Red” in my book Pink Butterbeans: Stories from the heart of a Southern woman.
Yet it’s almost August and the tomatoes are still green. I have six plants and no fat, red, and ripe tomatoes. I can hardly wait, though, and I will begin my watch for green to turn to yellow, then orange, then a fine ripe red. I know lunch that day will be a tomato sandwich, along with a few chomps on the little banana peppers planted beside the tomatoes in my tiny backyard garden, and maybe a few slices of cucumber, soaked in a vinegar/sugar mixture.
The recipe for a tomato sandwich, as described in Pink Butterbeans, is as follows:
Pick one garden-grown, softball-sized tomato, still warm from the vine. Place it on a cutting board. Cut a 3/8″ slice crosswise into slippery, orange-red pulp, through a sunburst of yellow, as seeds and juice spill out. Smother two slices of white bread with swirls of creamy mayonnaise. The slice of tomato should cover the slice of bread, touching brown crust on all four sides, leaving only slight triangular corners. Salt sparingly. Savor the first bite and let the juices trickle down your chin. The season’s first tomato sandwich is worth the wait, worth sweaty garden travail — a reward for suffering through sweltering, simmering summer days in the South.