Friday January 22nd, 2021 8:13PM

Nothing beats a tomato sandwich

By Mitch Clarke Director of News and Content

There are few foods in the world as delicious as a fresh, homegrown tomato. And when sliced thin and placed between two pieces of white bread, it creates a delight unrivaled in the culinary world.

I had my first tomato sandwich of the season last week. A friend raided her father’s garden and brought some to me. It was worth the wait.

I’m something of a snob when it comes to tomatoes. Store-bought tomatoes can’t compare to homegrown ones, as anyone who has attempted to make a tomato sandwich with a store-bought tomato can attest.

Tomatoes bought in a store never seem to quite get ripe. And they taste like, well, nothing. They have no taste. 

So slicing them thin and placing them between two pieces of white bread is pointless.

But homegrown tomatoes ripen to a deep red, and they have a sweet, juicy flavor that cannot be duplicated. So when homegrown tomatoes are available, I try to get my hands on as many as I can.

I was with some friends several weeks ago, and a few of us were talking about the fact that it would soon be tomato season and, by extension, the tomato sandwich season.

“What is a tomato sandwich?” a young friend asked, which immediately led me to question the job her parents had done raising her.

How could anyone – especially someone raised in the South – not know what a tomato sandwich is? She might as well have never heard of grits or Scarlett O’Hara.

So for my ill-informed co-worker, and any Northern Americans who might be reading who likewise have never heard of a tomato sandwich, let me explain how to make one. It really is as simple as I made it sound.

Take a couple of pieces of white bread – it really should be white bread – and slather them with Dukes mayonnaise. Anything else is heresy and a sin against God. Add as many slices of homegrown tomatoes as you’d like. Add salt and pepper to taste. And enjoy. Simple, huh?

You won’t find many things in a five-star restaurant that will compare.

One of the co-hosts of the "Today" show was telling another host how to make a tomato sandwich a few days ago.

"Toast the bread," she said. I stopped listening after that ridiculous suggestion, and for a few minutes, considered switching to "Good Morning America."

During our feast the other day, a couple of us got a wild hair and decided to add lettuce and bacon to our sandwich to make another quintessential Southern delight, the BLT.

Some of my friends, who are clearly food snobs, added fresh spinach and goat cheese to add to their sandwiches.

“I want to see Mitch put spinach on his sandwich,” said one such snob in an obvious dig at eating habits.

I concede my gastrointestinal instincts have been finely honed over the years, mostly by the 18 years I ate my mother’s cooking. But over the last few years, I’ve made a conscious effort to eat a better diet, and I think I have succeeded.

And yes, I even eat spinach from time to time. It’s delicious. But I didn’t eat any spinach last week on my tomato sandwich, and no pressure from a food snob was going to make me change my mind. For, you see, there is no “S” on a BLT.

I told you this whole tomato sandwich thing was simple.

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