The Tomato Sandwich

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Sunday’s post about childhood food memories really left me craving a tomato sandwich.  Like the kind my neighbor Betty used to make.  It really is so simple yet so amazing.  Only three humble ingredients, well plus salt and pepper.  If you add anything more, well I don’t consider that to be a true tomato sandwich.  I’m completely serious.

I grew up in Grover Beach, CA next door to Frank and Betty.  They were the sweetest neighbors for so many reasons.  I remember Frank’s sunflowers would grow so tall I could see their giant golden faces pop up from over our rather large fence.  I remember Betty was smart, very intelligent, in fact she used to quiz me on my spelling words.  She always wore Keds, had quite the tea-cup collection, and made one heck of a sandwich.  She was truly one-of-a-kind.  We lost her some years ago to liver cancer, but that won’t stop us from remembering her gentle ways and her sandwich making skills.

To make a truly wonderful tomato sandwich, you have to start with a really great tomato.  Preferably a large one so you only need three or 4 slices to cover the width of your bread.  You will then need to slather both pieces of bread, preferably a nice wheat variety but not too crusty, with mayonnaise.  Add your tomato slices, room temp (cold tomatoes are just not as flavorful – it’s true), sprinkle on some flaky sea salt and a couple grinds of black pepper.  And you’re done.

Bread, mayo, tomato.  A beautiful combination.  Thank you Betty for introducing this to me as a very small child.  And for making me into quite the spelling stickler.

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