Please pass the tomatoes

It was not what I wanted to hear. A woman who was buying fresh, locally grown tomatoes from the Glenfield market stand on Bankhead Street was asking how much longer they would be available.

“Only about another week and they’ll be gone,” the manager said. “After that, we’ll be getting tomatoes for a while from some Alabama farmers I know.”
I grimaced at the news, and picked out another couple of tomatoes to add to my plastic bag, ignoring the suggestion from my wife that I needed to cut down on the number because they were becoming overripe on the kitchen counter before we could eat them all.
“We’ll just have to eat more of them this week,” I thought, as I handed the heavy bag to the manager to weigh.
I think I’ve mentioned before that tomatoes are one of my favorite things. I get that from my father, who could eat a plateful at every meal all summer. He basically only ate them sliced into round pieces, sometimes under a little cottage cheese. And he wanted them without the skin. My mother would dutifully drop them into a pan of boiling water for just a second to make the skin easy to peel.
Being a cosmopolitan kind of guy (that gets a laugh from Jenny), I’ve branched out. Oh, I still like a plateful of tomatoes, under a heap of 4 percent milk-fat cottage cheese (you know, the tasty, fattening kind). Jenny calls our son Joe and me “pigs” because we can empty a full carton over our tomatoes at one meal.
Another tomato meal for me is BLTs. Every time we have them during the summer, it precipitates a discussion about how many BLTs I eat. I say seven, and Jenny just rolls her eyes.
I cut a slice of bread in half, put two or three slices of bacon, a tomato slice and a piece of lettuce on it, and top it with the other half slice of bread. That’s one sandwich. To Jenny it’s only a half. She toasts two slices of bread, slathers them with mayonnaise, adds the tomato and bacon slices, and the lettuce. It’s a big, hulking thing; I say it needs to be cut into two.
Joe just looks at us like he can’t believe we argue about what constitutes one sandwich. He straddles the fence by making his sandwiches both ways.
But my favorite tomato meal these days is Jenny’s tomato pie. I say “Jenny’s” because I had never heard of it until Jenny and I were married, but I understand a number of people make it. Probably not as good as yours, though, honey. (She reads my column.) It’s a browned pie crust filled with drained tomato wedges and covered with a mixture of shredded mozzarella, mayonnaise, basil and garlic.
The house (and our breath) smell like basil and garlic for days. It’s so wonderful that it could turn me into a vegetarian. Well, maybe not. But almost.
Let’s see now. We can have three tomato-and-cottage cheese meals, two BLT evenings and a tomato pie night this week. I’ll leave one night for something healthy.
It’s a plan.

T. Wayne Mitchell, Gazette publisher, can be reached at 662-534-6321 or at publisher@newalbanygazette.com.    
 

About Chris Elkins

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