By: Elizabeth Webber Akre
Being a mom, I find myself teaching lots of lessons, bestowing pearls of wisdom and telling my child to just trust me. One of these conversations that we have often is about how our taste buds can change over time. Something that you don’t care for today, may be your favorite when you’re an adult. I believe this and I test myself from time to time. (However, I don’t think I’ll ever find any tolerance, much less fondness, for celery.) This summer, I confronted one of my long-time dislikes on the beach at Kiawah. Yes, I had a tomato break-through.
After all these years of total disdain for raw tomato, I took the plunge and tried it once again. What do you know? My taste buds had changed, sure enough. (My 5-year-old was delighted to learn this, as it validated that what mommy says is actually right from time to time!) What attracted my attention was the brilliant red of this tomato. It was perfect. Now, I find myself almost obsessed with getting these beautiful scarlet orbs before winter sets in. You know what happens then: grocery stores display those pitiful orange, anemic-looking fruits trying to convince us that it’s just like a South Carolina summer tomato. Yeah, right. Nice try. Even the finest of restaurants have to use those same tomato imposters until summer returns. What I learned this year is that this awful color is largely responsible for my (former) tomato dislike.
So, now I’m on board with the rest of you and find myself actually craving BLTs. Forever, I thought anyone who could make a meal out of a tomato, some bacon and lettuce was a little off-kilter. But, here I am today, a BLT believer. I continue to try to experiment with the sandwich, without changing it into something else. Today, I made a special trip to the grocery for a tomato. Yep, the craving is in high gear. I have some mayo marrying with tarragon. I have peppered and cooked the bacon. It’s time to build the sandwich. You’ll have to excuse me. I’ll get back to you shortly…
…Okay, I’m back. That hit the spot! I have become quite a good BLT maker, if I do say so myself. The tarragon is a wonderful touch. It’s one of my favorite herbs because it adds that herbal flair without being overpowering. I always make my chicken salad with tarragon mayo. Lately, I’ve really been into peppering bacon. It seems to meld with the meat and have more spice that way. I think it works best when you microwave it. And, last but not least, the tomato. I like to add a bit of sea salt to enhance the flavor. And, it draws out some of the natural juice which flavors the bread nicely.
So, I’m an amateur BLT builder and novice tomato enthusiast, but I’ve joined your ranks. And it all started with that shrimp salad croissant on the beach.