Tomatoes and the 4th of July

July 4th is definitely the time for home grown tomatoes. I remember waiting for the juicy fruit to ripen, with many trips to the garden to see if that would be the day I could finally eat the luscious, juicy, ripe, tangy, succulent tomatoes! One thing I knew for sure was that the 4th of July picnic would have a bounty of sliced juicy red tomatoes on the table, and they would prove to be a favorite of young and old alike. Another known fact was that the riper and juicer the tomato, the better the flavor.

The famous southern delight, “the tomato sandwich,” was on every southern menu during the summer. If you’re not from the South, you may not realize it’s possible to make a meal out of tomatoes. But, we can make any meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a tomato as its main (or only) course. The right way to make a tomato sandwich will not appear in any cookbooks, although Southern parents and grandparents know and pass down the recipe generation to generation.

It requires sliced tomatoes grown in your backyard, mayonnaise (Hellmann’s or Duke’s), two slices of bread, and salt to taste. You just smear the mayo on the bread, add tomatoes and salt, and finish with another mayo soaked slice of bread. If made correctly, the juice from the sandwich will run down your chin and through your hands, like a ripe peach. It is messy, sweet, and tangy: a perfect blend of acidic tomatoes, creamy mayo, soft bread, and salty salt, just right to get that yummy flavor. It’s pure heaven on a slice of bread.

And that first tomato of the season requires a rush to the kitchen to bake up a batch of biscuits. Fresh and hot from the oven and lathered with butter, the biscuit makes a perfect companion for the freshly ripened tomatoes. There is nothing more delicious anywhere. Yes, it is definitely a southern happening around the 4th of July.

Source: K. P. Guessen