Sunday, June 29, 2008

when i was happy

I bit into the first big tomato from the garden this morning. I'd sliced up two of them ~ magnificent, lush, vine-riped beauties ~ while frying bacon. The first bacon and tomato sandwich of the season is a ritual for us. The tomato has to come from our garden. The bacon has to be absolutely crisp, not limp, not too brown. The only suitable architectural support for the magnificence that is bacon and tomato, is white bread. With Miracle Whip. Really.


As a snotty elitist liberal, I should abhor eating Miracle Whip, but it is the only option in creating this food of the gods. Most of the time I whip up my own mayonnaise with olive and walnut oils, an egg yolk, a squeeze of lemon, a little mustard and a pinch of salt. But bacon and tomato sandwich, along with the purist's tomato sandwich, requires white bread and Miracle Whip. These are not optional. And don't fuck it up by adding lettuce. That's an unnecessary distraction from the glory of this perfect combination. It's a way to soothe one's guilt over eating the kind of food that would throw a health nazi into convulsions. Forget the lettuce.

It is mandatory to prepare two sandwiches (yes, a nap post-sandwich is recommended) for each person and don't think about skimping on the bacon. The Whip goes on thick, both pieces of the bread. It's debatable whether one should add the bacon first or the tomato. Adding bacon first seems to keep the bread from getting entirely soaked, but tomato-first people argue that juice-soaked bread is the best part of it.

This is not eaten with side dishes of any kind. The ritual is just this: bacon and tomato white bread Miracle Whip sandwiches on a Sunday morning from home grown tomatoes served with plenty of napkins. Iced tea or water are optional. Side dishes, just like lettuce, distract from this perfection on a plate, this orgasmically delicious, absolutely addictive pleasure.

When I was happy, before George Bush, before Iraq, before Wall Street thugs, before the ascendancy of corporatism, before people starving in Haiti, before Mexican farmers displaced by NAFTA, before Biblically "justified" hatred, before all of that, when I was happy, it was in moments like these.

I forget to live in the moment. I find it almost impossible these days. Life seems too grim, too hopeless, but this one day, this morning, following an old ritual I've shared with my husband for 16 years, there was a moment. One moment of mindfulness, one moment present in the delicious little pleasures of life. One moment in which I found myself with tears in my eyes, wishing for everyone the small joy of one of life's perfect things. One moment is enough to hang on to today.

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18 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

Wow, it sounds so delicious. I'm so glad you enjoyed the moment, and shared it with us. Those tiny little joys can be so soul restoring.

Now I'm wanting a BLT in the worst way..

June 29, 2008 3:22 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

I myself have been a fan of peanut butter and tomato sandwiches, ever since my friend Larry introduced me to them.

June 29, 2008 5:38 PM  
OpenID badamerican said...

I have one particular form of food crack: chocolate covered raisins. And they must be Brachs. I could literally eat a pound in one hour. They are the hardest thing to put down.

Now to get that kind of life enhancing high you described Lynette, it takes a Vicodin.

June 29, 2008 6:43 PM  
Blogger mhermes said...

Just had one the other day. Although I cheat myself slightly and go with Miracle Whip Lite. But I gotta have my leaf lettuce. And our tomatoes aren't so big yet.

June 29, 2008 11:37 PM  
Blogger Dusty said...

Aha! We love bacon and tomato sandwiches too..sans the damn lettuce.

But the Miracle Whip..nah..low-cal Mayo here. ;)

June 30, 2008 1:06 AM  
Blogger p.alan said...

If not Miracle Whip, then it can only be Hellmann's. I am of the tomato-first persuasion. In fact, I've been known to place the bacon BETWEEN multiple slices of tomato, just for that drippy gooiness to ensue. Grey Poupon is a right nice compliment to it all, too.

I am of the opinion that the little moments of happiness are all still there. It is my aging process... my thickened skin from the knocks in life... that obscure these little moments from view.

June 30, 2008 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Mark H said...

If I "could" express myself as beautifully as you do, Lynette, I would have described THIS singular orgasmic BLT dish exactly as you have. To the letter.

Sadly, with our cold wet spring in Oregon, I can only READ YOUR writeup about this dish waited patiently or impatiently for about 8 more weeks. As I write, I can also say 3 of our plants came down with early blight in this damp rot, and I am heartsick.

BLT IS the high point of summer. Every summer and the tomato OFF the vine IS the ONLY way to experience it.

I will not be envious (hah), I will try to get out there and speed those plants along.

June 30, 2008 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Blindman said...

As a native of New Jersey, I can speak from deep and extensive experience about the tomato orgasm. Truly, joke all you want about NJ, our tomatoes make it all worth while. Seatle? Arizona? Give me a Rahway NJ tomatoe every time.

July 01, 2008 6:13 AM  
Blogger joe said...

Honey... please, REVEL in the lusciousness of the tomato sandwich with whatever you want to spread on it. Allow the tomato sandwich to wash away the sins and worries of the world!

One thing I miss about living in the Northeastern summer humidity-bath known as Summertime are the TOMATOES. Oh, the famous New Jersey backyard garden tomatoes -- a staple of my family for generations! I actually love me just a plain tomato and mayonnaise (Hellmann's/Best Food) on toast. Or a side dish of sliced tomatoes adorned with nothing but some salt.

I envy you. I hope there are some garden-ripe tomatoes to be had when I visit New Jersey for a long weekend next weekend. (Just noticed blindman's comment and all I can say is A-MEN.)

Until then, savor the miracle whip and put the asshats out of your mind for a good long while.

July 03, 2008 4:00 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

I am soooo envious! We can't get North American style bacon here - unless you know someone at the American PX in Napoli. I so want a simple bacon and tomato sandwich but in my case it has to be Hellman's. And salt and pepper. Oh great now I'm homesick.

July 05, 2008 2:24 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

I realize this comment is sadly belated, but hell, that picture is beautiful!

And speaking of snooty elitist liberals, being a Canadian from Toronto I can share with you a variation on your recipe theme. If of course you are willing to substitute your Miracle Whip for a garlic aioli, and add to everything else freshly chopped basil from your garden. You will not be disappointed!

July 07, 2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger eric3000 said...

I went out looking for a tomato plant over the weekend but finally decided I don't have any place to put it. I was going to put it by the front door because that spot gets the best sun but Eric thought it would look ugly there. So I'm stuck with tomatoes from the market. At least I can read about someone enjoying good tomatoes.

July 07, 2008 3:57 PM  
Blogger David said...

I'll just use my imagination.

July 07, 2008 11:24 PM  
Blogger Doralong said...

I need a Vicksburg sandwich in the worst way now..

July 08, 2008 9:14 AM  
Blogger rodger said...

Yeah...very late to the party here but catching up after all the bad shit that's been hitting me lately.

So...I have to say thank you for this wonderful reminder of summer. I can hardly wait for our first tomatoes so I can join you in this ritual. My mother taught me to make mater sandwiches and yes, Miracle Whip and white bread are required!

Thanks for this Lynette, I needed to smile and something to look forward to as well.

July 08, 2008 11:54 AM  
Anonymous inkedsoul said...

My partner just got back from NJ, our home for 13 years. Being that he is a wonderful fatty of a husband, he brought back tomatoes from NJ. Yes, he brought them on the plane. Who does that? Fat people from NJ, who for 13 years supported local farmers, and who now live in Florida, where every vegetable looks beautiful but tastes like iceberg lettuce.

This morning we had bacon, NJ Ugly tomatoes, Miracle Whip sandwiches on lightly toasted, hearty white bread accompanied by a couple of Freixenet mimosas.

We are both feeling a little fatter, a little closer to our friends up north, and a lot happier.

Tradition!

July 12, 2008 10:42 AM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

Oh girl ... I've been a vegetarian for about 10 years now, but you sure do have me reconsidering today.

Back when I ate BLTs (yes, I do love the "L" in that combo), it was indeed an orgasmic moment. Considering my recent dearth of dating opportunities ... maybe I should take it up again.

I find there are Miracle Whip peopole and Hellmans people, isn't that weird? I used to be a Hellman's gal, but I gave up mayo too, and now use olive oil infused w/ garlic, basil, and other things.

thanks for the virtual bite...

July 26, 2008 4:07 PM  
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