Near where I live, I find excellent tomatoes at our local farmers markets and at nearby Dempsey Farms on St. Helena Island. (To see “What’s Picking,” visit www.dempseyfarmsupick.com or call 843-838-3656.) Other communities have their favorite places for tomatoes, as well, and as every tomato aficionado knows, that first bite can instantly transport you to a time when tomatoes were tomatoes or catapult you into a state of tomato disillusionment.
Sadly, there’s really no way to tell anymore if you’re about to sink your teeth into the real deal or a woefully inadequate likeness. A tomato may be red, ripe and reasonably round, but many times, that’s where the similarities end. The proof is in the tasting and when you find a tomato source you can trust, it’s best to stick with them.
Once I locate my perfect tomato, I am content eating it on a sandwich made from store-bought white bread (I like Sunbeam brand) and a good slathering of mayonnaise. For the purposes of tomato sandwiches, my preference is Duke’s mayonnaise, but many folks swear by Hellman’s. For some, especially those who grow their own tomatoes, only homemade bread will do, opting also to make their own mayonnaise. Should you be in the mood – and have the time – you’ll find recipes here for both the bread and the mayonnaise.
July is a good month for tomatoes and an exceptional time to give in to your cravings for one of the greatest tastes of the season – the simple, the delicious and the unpretentious tomato sandwich.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.