These days, everyone’s a foodie. But when I read an article like 17 Ways to Build a Better Tomato Sandwich, from the magazine Southern Living, well, I know that Southern Living had been bought out by Northerners and all its native Southern staff members replaced–which is exactly what happened several years ago.
Most Southern traditions were developed in a rural, economically depressed post-Civil War society. People ate what they had, and what was cheap.
Exhibit No. 1: The Tomato Sandwich. It might be the finest creation on earth on a summer day. Take two slices of bread (cheap white bread is best), slather mayonnaise on both sides, add a thick slice of fresh tomato (pulled off the vine if possible, but at least vine-ripened), sprinkle on liberal doses of salt and pepper, and eat. This was my lunch today, although I had to make do with honey-wheat bread, which isn’t nearly as good.
Exhibit No. 2: The Banana Sandwich. Bananas are cheap. That culinary masterpiece, Bananas Foster, was developed in New Orleans back in the 1950s because there were so damn many bananas coming into the port that chefs were trying to figure out what to do with them. In the Deep South, we know what to do with them, although there is a controversy as to method. In my neck of the woods, the Banana Sandwich (second in finery only to the Tomato Sandwich) is achieved thus: Take two slices of bread (cheap white bread is best), slather mayonnaise on both sides, slice ripe banana over one side, and eat.
Some people eat peanut butter instead of mayo; others eat both peanut butter AND mayo on their banana sandwiches. But really, perfectly is simply bread, banana, and mayo.
Unless you’re Elvis, of course, in which case you use both mayo and peanut butter, slather the outsides of your sandwich with butter, and fry in a skillet. I tried this once. Elvis had issues.
So…happy Sunday! Have a sandwich! Have you tried either of these?