This summer I stated I would eat at least one tomato sandwich every day while I lived in Charleston. I’m pretty sure that happened during at least June and July. Once school began, I continued eating tomato sandwiches because I could get fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market that were not as good, but still eatable (I guess ‘edible’ would be more correct here, but I prefer the former). Even now, on the second official full day of Fall, I am not sick of tomato sandwiches, and I just wish tomatoes could be in season year-round.
Now, I like BLTs, too, but normally I just eat my sandwich with tomato between some whole wheat bread with lots of salt and pepper, and a little mayonnaise. Sometimes I put some lettuce just to add color, but it’s not necessary. There is a lot of writing out there about the connections between food and memory, and I’m sure one of the reasons why I love a good tomato sandwich so much is because it recalls summer for me– those days spent soaking up the sun on the beach, running through the sprinkler with friends, or working in an extra-air conditioned office and walking out into the humidity to take my lunch break with a juicy tomato sandwich. Mmm. Good tomatoes are even more appreciated when they are homegrown. I don’t have a garden myself at this point in my life, but I know that when I am settled down, I plan to at least be growing some tomatoes in the summer. For now, it is definitely just as good to be the receiver of the fruits of Grandaddy’s labor in his garden (or Mom’s, when she uses those Topsy Turvy things).
Besides all that, I think the simplicity of the tomato sandwich is just so good. It takes less than a minute to make such a juicy, delicious meal. I have eaten a tomato sandwich at least three times a week since I’ve been back to school this semester because, besides the obvious, it is reliable and wholesome. It’s funny because when I was little, I didn’t really care for fresh tomatoes, and usually left the ones in salads on my plate, but now it is hard for me to resist a good tomato when I see one.
Speaking of that, I have a confession. A few weeks ago I was studying on the patio outside the new Business School here, which is very beautiful and only a five minute walk from my apartment. In a moment of temporary distraction, I looked around and noticed a shiny, red thing amongst the shrubs in the flower beds next to me. Lo and behold, two small tomato plants were right there on the patio, and two small tomatoes were almost ripe for the picking! “Just my luck!” I thought, as I wondered who in the world planted those things there. I really wanted to pick those tomatoes, and thought about it for about five minutes, looking around to see if there were any passersby to catch me in action. Then, I packed up my books, leaned down, and snatched those things from their stems! I ate one of them whole with some salt, and the other I’m sure I used to make a tomato sandwich.
I know, I guess this could be considered stealing, but I didn’t understand why there were tomato plants growing on the Business School’s patio and figured they would probably go to waste if I didn’t pick them. Now that I think about it, they could have been growing them to use in the cafe there. Hmm. Oh well.
When I think of tomato sandwiches, I think about lots of good things– their juicy but hearty nature, spending the Fourth of July at Nanny and Papa’s, eating lunch straight from the garden with Grandaddy. I also think of how simple, yet reliable and pleasing they are . . . so delicious. Good enough for me to spend twenty minutes writing about them. And, I’ve amazingly just realized that the characteristics of a good tomato sandwich that I’ve named could potentially chalk up my ideal mate– simple, reliable, wholesome, good, and tasty. 🙂