Tomato Sandwiches and More

Growing up, we always tried to plant our gardens on Good Friday and expected to have fresh tomatoes by July 4. This year that is an unobtainable goal for me. I was unable to till my little garden patch and when I gave up and got someone to do it, all the rain kept me from planting tomatoes and peppers for several more weeks.

Some of my tomatoes are blooming, so there is hope for home grown tomatoes before too long. There is nothing better than a fresh, fully ripe tomato straight from the vine. Store bought tomatoes are bred to stay ripe and firm longer, for the trip to the store and time on the shelf, but they just do not taste as good.

I did get one of my favorite sandwiches this past week. Linda got some fresh tomatoes from a fruit stand. They are almost as good as home grown ones. I peeled and sliced one and put it on bread with mayonnaise. Mom always peeled tomatoes and they just taste better that way to me.

We ate tomato sandwiches like that all summer. But that was it, just tomato, mayo and bread. I was in college before I discovered a BLT. I think I had heard of them but never tried one. I’m not sure where I first had one, I think it was at the University Union Grill.

It was good, but the tomatoes were not home grown, so it lacked something. I eat them often now, sometimes with just bacon and no lettuce.

We often had egg salad and chicken salad sandwiches, too. Since we had 11,000 laying hens on our farm there were always plenty of eggs to eat, every day. Mom mixed up a big bowl of one or the other of the above, or tuna salad, in a big container and kept it in the refrigerator. All three were good on Saltine or Ritz crackers, too.

We also had homemade beef vegetable soup and toasted pimento cheese sandwiches. I loved to dunk the sandwich in the soup and slowly eat the saturated parts. Those not toasted just were not as good. I tried to make them after I left home but it took me a long time to realize I needed to toast the bread then put the pimento cheese on it, not try to toast it all together.

Daddy would not eat cheese. He said he went to town with his family grocery shopping when he was three years old. Riding home in the back of a two-horse wagon, he got into the big chunk of hoop cheese they had bought and ate so much he got sick.

Mom did make us macaroni and cheese, and we often had pimento cheese, but daddy would not eat it. So I never had a toasted cheese sandwich until I got to college. If I remember right, I tried it at the same grill as the BLT.

I tried for years to make a good toasted cheese sandwich but they were never right. Then I watched an online video and found the right way to make one. Lots of butter melted in a fry pan then toast one side of two pieces of bread, put the cheese between the toasted sides and then, after adding more butter, toast the outside of the sandwich on both sides while keeping it covered to melt the cheese. And mine much have Velveeta cheese to taste right.

Sandwiches are a staple of many lunches, and there are just so many choices!