I miss the south sometimes. A lot of times actually. I miss the summer rains, the golden leaves in fall, the beautiful flowers blooming in spring and the biscuits. Oh man, the flakey biscuits. Whenever I don’t know what to cook, I’ll usually think of something super boring and then give it a southern twist.
I like to think that this is a dish a southern girl would make after she spent the summer backpacking through Europe. Maybe she spent a few weeks in Switzerland, maybe she had a fling with a Swiss dude (think Before Sunrise-like) and during that fling she ate at a restaurant and was introduced to the wonderfulness that is raclette.
This isn’t the “right way” to eat raclette. It’s usually cheese that’s cooked over an open fire, the cheese gets super melty and then the cheese is scraped onto awesome things like a variety of meats, vegetables and carbs.
A few ex-boyfriends ago, I learned an incredibly valuable less: how to properly make a tomato sandwich. I am forever grateful.
During the summers we’d drive to Virginia to his family’s lake house. It was there where I’d buy big-ass tomatoes from old men who sold them out of their pick-up trucks parked alongside the road. They were beautiful and warm from the sun (the tomatoes not the old men). There’s something about a southern tomato that’s just really special. They’re kinda magical.
The first step to a glorious tomato sandwich is salting the tomatoes and allowing them to sit and drain on a few paper towels. This makes it so the tomato sandwich doesn’t end up being soggy. NO SOG ZONE.
I learned that tomato sandwiches MUST be eaten on white bread.
One of my favorite summahtime memories was in college. I got a job on a film set in Maryland for a few days and instead of flying, which they offered, I took it as an opportunity to go on a solo road-trip through the south.
It wasn’t too far, actually, maybe six or seven hours. And instead of opting for highway only, I went for the route that took me on a lot of one lane roads, running straight through a bunch of small towns in North Carolina and Virginia.
I packed a large sweet tea, made a super long mix-CD and filled up my Jetta.
Nothing crazy happened. I stopped off at a diner, had hoecakes and ate Western North Carolina BBQ. At dusk, fireflies helped light up the roads. I listened to music my parents did. But mostly I remember thinking that everyone seemed so happy and normal and maybe this whole idea of moving to Los Angeles to work in the film industry, which is inherently sort of abnormal, was maybe flawed. Maybe they had it right and I had it all wrong.