Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Tomato Sandwiches

At least once a summer when we were children, we would pack into the car and travel to the tiny town of Abbeville, South Carolina to visit my great-aunt Louise and my great-uncle Leon. My mom was close with them and they were our only relatives in the Southeast, so I think we all enjoyed the trip.

 Aunt Louise and Uncle Leon had a sprawling yard filled with oak trees, lizards, deer, clothes lines, and a garden. Abbeville didn't have much else to offer beyond the Piggly-Wiggly but we kids loved going and exploring the property, playing in the fields, swinging on the porch swing, and sneaking apples to the horses next door.

One staple of every trip was a huge platter of tomato sandwiches waiting for us in the kitchen when we arrived. If we finished them all, then we heard "my God, you kids were hungry, don't you ever eat in the city??". If we didn't finish them all, then "my God, you kids are like skinny birds and you just peck at your food, what on earth do you eat in the city??". Spoken in a true Southern drawl, of course.

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The funny thing about those tomato sandwiches is that they have remained in my mind as the embodiment of country gardens, sunburned childhoods, hummingbird feeders, porch swings, and all things Southern. We rarely even ate them except at Aunt Louise's house but it's funny that they stuck so well in my mind!

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Anyway, we had the stars align in our kitchen this week where we had a bunch of leftover tomatoes and no lunch meat, so I figured it was high time to introduce these city girls of mine to a childhood tradition, and I made them a plate full of tomato sandwiches.

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There's really nothing to these. Get some good white bread. Slice up the juiciest, ripest tomatoes you can find, as thin as you can. Slather both sides of bread with mayonnaise, pile on the tomatoes, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add lettuce or spinach if you want.

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Anna inhaled two full sandwiches at lunch time this day and I enjoyed another mental meander through the Abbeville countryside. And maybe I will just happen to overbuy tomatoes again soon, as these tomato sandwiches are the perfect summer lunch!

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