Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tomato Sandwiches

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on $10/day or less.

Today's post is more of a memory than a recipe.

I grew up watching my mother eat tomato sandwiches in the summer. Mom doesn't love gardening, but she does love fresh tomatoes. Growing up we would often have garden tomatoes.

Tomato sandwiches are one of those foods that seem gross to a kid at first. But when your parent enjoys them as much as my mom did, well, eventually you come around. And you're so glad you did. Because tomato sandwiches with garden tomatoes--they're something special. Don't ask me why they're not gross. Any other time of the year, a tomato sandwich just seems like a sandwich that forgot the rest of its toppings, but in the summer, those tomatoes are singing their own song. And they don't need anybody else to sing it with them. I actually like tomato sandwiches best with tomatoes just picked so that they're still a little warm. The mayo and salt get kind of warm and melty and it's like eating summer itself. Of course you can get this effect by toasting the bread as well. And of course, a sun-warmed tomato is not a necessity for a good summer sandwich. All you need is a good fresh tomato, some bread, some salt, and a bit (a generous bit if you're me) of mayonnaise. Don't try to duplicate them in the winter. You'll just grode yourself out.

Everyone should have a good virgin tomato sandwich for starters, but if you're in the mood to dress the sandwich up a bit, it dresses up well. I like it with a good sharp cheddar. Fresh basil with or without a bit of olive oil goes nicely too. And I'm betting a slab of mozzarella wouldn't do you wrong (I haven't tried it yet, but I've got my slab of mozzarella waiting for me in the refrigerator). And do I even need to say how blessed a BLT is with summer tomatoes.

Let me know how you like your tomato sandwiches. The raccoons may have consumed all of my beautiful corn, my squash may be refusing to produce, but I've got tomatoes coming out my ears.

Tomato Sandwich
serves 1
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cost: a few cents for bread and mayo

2 slices bread
several fat slices of tomato (I like thickish slices in one layer on my bread)
mayo for generous spreading on both sides of your bread
salt and pepper--don't skimp

Toast your bread if you wish and make a sandwich. Eat it nice and slow. The juice and mayo will drip onto your fingers. Embrace this fact and lick it off. Remember: tomato sandwiches are fleeting. Enjoy them when they come.


  1. Oh, there really is something about a summer tomato sandwich...Mmmmmm...

    I'm still waiting for the green bullets in my backyard to magically turn into six million tomatoes that I have to use yesterday or fess up to wasting on Food Waste Friday.

    I just heard about freezing whole tomatoes to use like you would fresh blanched ones, and I'm planning on canning a good bunch of them, but after that (and eating them like apples for every meal) I'm worried I'll be *that* neighbour...resorting even to leaving anonymous baskets of tomatoes on doorsteps.

    Bring on the tomato ideas, Jeanie!

  2. Basil mayonnaise. 1 c mayo, juice from half lemon, 1 grated garlic clove, generous handful chopped basil, salt and pepper.
    This delicious suggestion from Ina Garten has changed my tomato sandwich life, and I too pretty much live on them for the couple of months in the summer it is feasible.

  3. All of the above ways! Now if only my garden would produce...



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