Summer means muggy days, nights at the swimming pool and, for those who love them, lunches comprised solely of tomato sandwiches.
To be clear, that’s the tomato sandwich. Not the bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich. Not the peanut butter-and-tomato sandwich (yes, that’s a thing). A sandwich starring the tomato in a solo act.
According to Virginia Willis of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization that, “documents, studies, and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South,” tomatoes originated in South America, and by 1781 were cultivated in the U.S.
These nightshades (the classification of flowering plants to which tomatoes belong) were in New Orleans as early as 1812, where the Southern summers provided the ideal hot and humid growing conditions. Today, many varieties of tomatoes are grown nationwide and tomato sandwiches are a veritable summertime classic.
Mmm. Tomato Sandwich with @DukesMayonnaise complete! Summer is officially here!!
Lance Berrier (@hotrodpcoltrane) July 21, 2016
You might think the love of a tomato sandwich would unite food lovers over one of life’s simple pleasures.
You would be wrong.
@Nativemanley None shall be spared in the great tomato/sandwich wars!
Fremenist Witch (@GlynisMitchell) August 18, 2014
Tomato sandwiches are hotly debated year after year, and every aspect of their construction is picked apart from the bread on up.
I’m starting a food civil war because I’ve got a taste for a tomato sandwich made with Miracle Whip, NOT MAYO
Ramona Holloway (@RamonaHolloway) August 13, 2013
Some folks are arguing that a tomato & mayonnaise sandwich should be made with whole wheat bread. They are wrong. on.cnn.com/ncXziz
Eatocracy (@eatocracy) August 10, 2011
Purvis tells Mashable people are dogmatic about their tomato sandwiches in part because anyone who makes your favorite sandwich differently than you do, “violates the Mama Rule: The only right way was Mama’s way.”
@nytimes Uh….no there called “mater sandwiches” and that ain’t how you make one.
PostRight (@SplitRight22) July 3, 2016
It’s easy to agree with food writer and editor Kat Kinsman that your sandwich’s tomatoes should ideally come straight from a farmer or off your neighbor’s vine without ever having known the chill of your refrigerator. Many (if not all) tomato sandwich lovers side with renowned gardener John Coykendall, who recommends, “old, cheap white bread.”
Ate first tomato sandwich of the year yesterday! Someone told me to toast the bread, which I believe is an act of heresy! Untoasted white!
Sammy Oakey (@fabfourfan) July 6, 2009
However, that’s where the harmony ends. Tomato sandwich addicts nearly come to blows about condiments and additional ingredients.
@GkGSparks oh, I’m just being dramatic (as usual). My mother soiled my tomato sandwich with unwanted condiments
trashland. (@ashlandmariee) August 31, 2015
Bacon, mayonnaise and tomato sauce sandwich. Fantastic. Fight me vegan terrorists.
Mojomancer (@Mojomancer) July 7, 2015
Purists tend to favor mayonnaise, salt and pepper as the only additions.
@trapper831 I’m talking about only little mayonnaise and 3 or 4 slices of tomatoes on bread .. No ham or anything but tomato sandwich
Michael (@Tolltac) March 6, 2016
The proper type of mayonnaise is far from widely accepted. Duke’s (a regional mayonnaise brand) is the popular choice for many Southerners.
There is a Hellman’s contingency.
Ilaine Upton (@Msilaine) July 9, 2016
Even Miracle Whip, with its tangy sweetness, has fans.
@nytimes A true Midwest tomato sandwich is Miracle Whip on bread with freshly picked tomato, salt and pepper. No bacon. Nothing else.
Elida Witthoeft (@eswitt) July 3, 2016
Sandwich renegades add herbs, bacon and even peanut butter to the mix.
another view of my lunch today. first fresh garden tomato sandwich, mayo, bacon and fixing to add the salt & pepper pic.twitter.com/uu571gdkoP
Beautiful to me Love (@534dyer) July 26, 2016
What is wrong with a peanut butter and tomato sandwich? I love them! Friends looked on in horror 🙂
Susie (@Susie_Soapsuds) June 27, 2016
If you don’t like mayonnaise, (and yes, mayonnaise, you have haters) you aren’t alone in your mayo-free sandwich endeavors:
Lisa Meadows (@lmeadows50) July 7, 2016
Char Nolan (@nolancharlene) July 26, 2016
Grandma asked what was wrong with me and that I’m not really from the south if I don’t like tomatoes especially tomato n mayo sandwich EW
Ashley Miller (@AshMMiller) May 16, 2016
Such emphatic beliefs about something as seemingly benign as a sandwich lie more than tastebud deep. The humble tomato sandwich touches a universal, primal heartstring that speaks to nostalgia, tradition and even the future.
Purvis says, “In a world that’s overwhelmed with big things, small things are the only things that we feel can control. It’s easier to go to the mattresses over bacon on a tomato sandwich than to confront global terrorism and childhood hunger. “
I still have some hope for America because I’m part of a robust email thread, started by my dad, about how to make a perfect tomato sandwich
Tucker Martin (@jtuckermartin) July 27, 2016
In times of uncertainty and trauma, it is comforting to depend on something you know is reliable, deeply personal and above all, delicious.
Emily Hall (@emilyvioletta) July 27, 2016
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