Summer's First Tomato Sandwich
I have a lot of seasonal food rituals. I love autumn's first batch of spaghetti made with tomatoes canned from our garden. I can hardly wait for that big tray of hot lasagna to come out of the oven in early winter. Meatballs with lingonberries and warm lefse are a signal that Christmas is upon us. New Year's Mornings taste of gravlax, blinis, caviar, and mimosas. As soon as spring thaws allow access to our grill, a gorgeous dry-aged steak comes to dinner.
Yet, possibly the most sacred of all food rituals is the first tomato sandwich of summer. Preferably enjoyed on a hot summer day, the tomato must be freshly picked and still warm from the sun. Juicy slices planked over a thick spread of mayonnaise (occasionally homemade, usually straight from the Hellmann's jar) rest atop dark-toasted bread. Just a smidgen of salt and pepper complete the sacrament. When willpower and self-discipline are present, the sandwich may actually meet a plate that is brought to a table where a refined, civilized ceremony can occur.
More often, communion takes place over the kitchen sink.