How to Make a Tomato Sandwich

Here in the Mid-South, we make summer sandwiches with raw vegetables.

One is the cucumber sandwich, served on pretty little trays aside ewers of lemonade, iced tea, or gin and tonics on tables topped with linen adorned with silver, eaten by ladies smelling of lavender sachet and gentlemen of a certain persuasion in pastel seersucker suits.

Diametrically opposite of this delicate denizen of elegant afternoon gatherings is the sweet onion sandwich, gnawed upon with audible gusto over kitchen sinks, and washed down with Miller or PBR by the likes of ATV enthusiasts and women’s sports columnists.

Then we have the tomato sandwich. Egalitarian, comfortable in any company, this summer staple of Dixie is found on the table just about any time of the day. For me, a tomato sandwich is how a summer afternoon on the front porch ought to taste.

The essential components are bread, sliced tomatoes and mayonnaise. The bread soft wheat or white; for the garnish of memory, I use Wonder bread. The tomatoes should be the best your particular part of the world has to offer.

The mayonnaise (Blue Plate) should be slathered on the tomatoes as well as the bread, ensuring even moistness. Season with plenty of salt and a generous dusting of black pepper.

Adding bacon elevates the tomato sandwich from a mere concoction to poetry, but lettuce is superfluous and moreover annoying.

Hold the “L”

In one of her wonderful Arly Hanks novels Joan Hesse has the police chief of Maggody, Arkansas declare that, “Only a Yankee would desecrate a bacon and tomato sandwich with lettuce”. Well, if not a Yankee then anyone with no reverence for the blessed combination of tomato and fried pork with a slathering of mayonnaise. What infidel would put watery lettuce in such a perfect culinary union of flora and fauna? Let the words go forth: “BLT, hold the ‘L’”.