The Perfect Summer State Sandwich of South Carolina-the Simple Tomato Sandwich

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I had such a craving for a tomato sandwich I had to jump in my car and head straight to the Coastal Produce stand.

Apparently I wasn’t alone in this desire… there was a long line to check out so I grabbed some cantaloupe too! Now my mouth was watering. A plain tomato sandwich is the perfect taste of summer in the Lowcountry!

*You noticed I had to add chips too… I wasn’t called ” The Potato Chip Kid” for no reason when we played cowboys in the summer! I still can’t eat a sandwich without chips to this day!

In the Lowcountry we get most of our tomatoes from the local islands … like John’s Island. South Carolina is still a major supplier to the rest of our country with its sea island tomatoes! Why?

Because they are so good… and so simple! Two slices of bread, sliced tomatoes, Dukes Mayo, a little salt and pepper! ( BLT’s are just for company) Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato)

Tomatoes were once considered aphrodisiacs when they arrived in Europe in the 16th century …to the point that the Christian Church deemed it lewd and disapproved of its consumption.

In the Lowcountry, because of our warm temperatures we have two tomato growing seasons-look at my neighbor Vickie’s tomato vines.

Tomatoes have been given many nicknames by different countries-” love apples” and yellow tomatoes ” apples of gold.”

Like we have ” The Three Sisters” we grow together in SC-learned from the Native-Americans-corn, beans, and squash-West-African cuisine consists of the ” holy trinity ” tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers.

In the Lowcountry today we sat” Tomayto” but in 1764 when Charleston merchant, Henry Laurens, first cultivated the plant, he spelled it phonetically, sending ” tomawtoes” to his Cooper River plantation-Mepkin.

But as for me …eating a plain tomato sandwich reminds me of simpler times and while we can’t physically time-travel back we can still taste and enjoy memories of the past simultaneously.

So until tomorrow… on this Father’s Day-a day filled with past memories…Try this taste-one that should remind you of everything good in the world!

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Look at my moonflowers climbing…

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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