A Proper Southern Summer Lunch

Happy Sunday!

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?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate’s Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man’s Curse; Black Diamond).

10 thoughts on “A Proper Southern Summer Lunch

  1. A banana sandwich with banana and just a bit of butter and toasted is the best!

  2. I have not had either of those sandwiches, at least not quite. Though I would certainly give them a try. But if you remove the mayo from the banana sandwich and substitute Nutella, I am a fan. And though I have not had a traditional tomato sandwich, an Italian guy had served me something somewhat related to it. Again, no mayo in this one but half a French bread loaf that has had tomato halves rubbed thoroughly into the cut side, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with a few grains of salt, baked and then sliced.

  3. Yum!! I am definitely a fan of the tomato sandwich, that’s one of my faves – especially with a little seasoning salt. I’ve tried banana & PB, but not mayo – now I want to try that too!

  4. My husband eats peanut butter & banana, which is MUCH better than his other choice, peanut butter & dill pickle!

  5. I really like PB and banana together. It’s always fascinating to me to read about different regions’ food styles. I haven’t tried any of these sandwiches and didn’t really eat much mayo until I got to be an adult, which I really like now.