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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grandpa, The BLT, and Caprese

Sandwich People,

My grandfather really liked to grow tomatoes.  He wasn't a farmer or anything.  He probably dumped mountains of industrial fertilizer in the arid soil of San Bernadino, California.  Grandpa also grew snow peas, and these wicked hot Filipino Peppers.  And Grandma turned those peppers and tomatoes into blister inducing salsa she would generously give out to unsuspecting friends and neighbors.  That was pretty much it.  Same produce each year.

Weird, white on white European lineage... and two of the things Grandma made, fiery salsa from secret caspin loaded tiny peppers, and Pancit, the traditional Filipino noodle dish, that is where the snow peas went.  In my medium length life to date, I have never eaten Pancit anywhere except Grandma's House and from a subpar food truck vendor.  The number of times I have seen Pancit on a menu is, from that same food truck vendor.  I would wager Grandma and Grandpa never even met a Filipino (but she did get the secret peppers they grew from somewhere, so I bet this is wrong).  Pre Internet, she wasn't an exploratory cook... how the hell did she start making Pancit?

But I digress.  The real story here is Grandpa's Tomatoes.  He would have at least 15 plants.  And the tomatoes were big, and plentiful.  His favorite way to eat them, besides chomping them apple-wise, was in a sandwich.  When I finally got to like tomatoes... probably by the age of 17, I realized the beauty of Grandpa's tomato sandwich simplicity.

It goes like this.  White bread.  Lots of Best Foods Mayo.  Fat slices of homegrown tomatoes.  Fat teardrop inducing slices of yellow onions.  Pepper.  Salt.  Done.  Maybe the ratio of tomato to onion is... 2 to 1?  No cheese to muddle the flavor.  No herbs to distract the taste buds.  No bacon, no lettuce, and the onion, Jesus, it really really opened the eyes and nose.  That Summer sandwich was the best.

The first Summer of GRAZE, we tried to serve Grandpa's sandwich.  HaHa.  Not many takers.  So we started adding things.  Eventually we just gave up and went to the BLT.  Now our BLT is pretty damn good.  And our Caprese Panini is also excellent.  And I eat lots of them all Summer.  But sometimes I wish we didn't serve either, stuck to our guns, and let Grandpa's Sandwich stand alone.


1 comment:

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