Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches
It’s that time of year — there are ripe tomatoes in my garden, which means, it’s time for BLTs. Because what’s the point of a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich that isn’t made with a real tomato — a tomato grown locally, a tomato grown to ripeness and juicy perfection? A BLT made with a supermarket tomato is a travesty. It isn’t a BLT at all, it bears the same relation to a real BLT as silicone breasts do to real ones. It is a Bad Thing.
Whereas a real BLT, made with a real tomato — a ripe, red (or yellow) oozy juicy tomato is perfect. On white bread. Always white bread. With, if you’re lucky enough to live here, Matt’s Meats own home-cured bacon, and Hellmans/Best Foods mayonnaise. And lettuce out of the garden as well (although it’s a little past its prime, and getting bitter).
And, if you’re really a lucky person, this BLT will instantly transport you back to an island in Lake Tomahawk, in northern Wisconsin, and to memories of Mr. Kennedy’s big old Cris Craft boat with it’s deep-voiced motor. Because if you were a lucky kid, and got to go out in that big boat and do a little fishing (the amount of fishing being in direct proportion to your height, because when you’re very little, fishing is excruciatingly boring), you also got to go to Mr. Kennedy’s island and have a Shore Dinner. Which was BLTs made with bacon, deep fried in an entire bottle of Crisco Oil in a big cast iron pan over an open fire. On white bread, with big old beefsteak tomato slices, some of which Mr. Kennedy would shake salt on and hand to you directly, telling you it was a tomato cookie, and you’d never heard of such a thing but because he was enormous, and had a deep voice, and knew everything, and because you always felt absolutely safe with Mr. Kennedy, you ate them and said how good they were (and you weren’t being polite, although you were a polite child. Tomato slices with just a little salt are very good). And later, after the BLTs, and some real cookies that Mrs. Kennedy made and sent along, and after you’d watched Mr. Kennedy scour out the cast iron pan with sand and re-bury it like hidden treasure, you got to go back across that great big Northern Wisconsin lake in the beautiful wooden boat the color of iced tea, the wind whipping across the bow and the grown-ups hollering conversation at one another and the boat would bounce up and down across the waves with an absolutely even rhythm and all would be well in your little-kid world.
Which is why it’s worth the wait every year for a good tomato. Worth not sullying a perfect memory with a bad tomato.