Monday, April 28, 2008

A (Slightly) Tongue-in-Cheek Inaugural Post

It is a real honor to be asked to contribute to Alterdestiny-- thanks to Erik and company for inviting me aboard. I hope I can add some interesting things to this fantastic blog. In his invitation e-mail, Erik offered that I could post about music, politics, etc., and joked that I could even include some folksy, Prairie Home Companion-style stories about my native rural Indiana.

Even though he was joking, I think I will start with such a post, and combine it with another subject I am very passionate about: food. I hope to write about food every now and again, ranging from important issues in agriculture and food production (issues of great importance both in my native state and my future home in California) to more mundane things like weird recipes from our own kitchen.

I would like to share a strange family staple with you all-- the Tomato Sandwich. This doesn't even qualify as a regional food, as I'm unaware of other Indiana folks eating this particular incarnation of a bastardized BLT. First, the recipe:

The Tomato Sandwich

2 slices of homemade country style white or wheat bread, toasted
1 small sliced tomato, preferably homegrown
2 TB of peanut butter
Pepper to taste

Slather the peanut butter on the toast, add tomato slices and pepper to taste

I'm completely in the dark about how this sandwich came into being, but my family lives on them in the summer, once the tomatoes get really good. I still eat these everyday for lunch when I have good tomatoes, and even sometimes in the winter when the tomatoes are waxy, watery, hydroponic crapballs. My grandmother ate them as a child, but her mother came to the U.S. when she was a teenager (from France) and her father from Southern Germany. It seems unlikely that either of them would have had peanut butter as children, so I can't fathom that it would be a hold over from either of my great-grandparents' childhoods. My best guess is that this sandwich was a cheap lunch to feed a family of 15 on a busy farm-- the bread was always baked at home (25 loaves a week [!]), and the tomatoes would have come from the substantial garden on the farmstead. Peanut butter was likely a cheap alternative to meat, and probably the best explanation for the sandwich's genesis.

Now, I know this sounds outrageously disgusting, but try it sometime (with good country-style bread and real tomatoes). It really is fantastic; though I understand I have a strong family connection to the sandwich, and that may be what it takes to love this food like I do.

NB: It is also amazing with bacon and lettuce, in the style of a BLT.