By PETTUS READ
Here we are once again in the glory days of homegrown maters and I’m still finding folks who can’t make a mater saminch. I put out one of those videos a couple of years back, wrote articles, was featured in a few fancy magazines scraping a Miracle Whip jar with a knife and I still have people ask me the proper way to make the correct mater saminch.
Let me tell you however, it does my heart good to have those questions since I have become Tennessee’s official apostle of rural living as declared by Joint House resolution number 225 in 2013 and am truly known as an expert mater saminch constructor.
My claim to fame all began with me looking through one of my late wife’s “country Wanda be” magazines. You know the ones, those that have pictures of old furniture out in the yard with ankle high grass under a tree like a Little House on the Prairie movie set. In fact, I wrote a column a few years ago about seeing that magazine and from that article I became the mater saminch creator of all time.
The thing that caught my attention in that magazine was a recipe for a tomato sandwich. Mater saminches have been my specialty and I have always been real interested in what trendy folks do to make one. Right off the bat, I knew whoever wrote that recipe never grew a homegrown tomato in Tennessee.
In the first line as I remember, they suggested using slices of challah or brioche bread with butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. First of all, I really don’t know what those breads are, and second, sea salt was never a staple in my mama’s kitchen cabinet from whom I learned to make mater saminches at an early age. We had that salt in a round blue box with a little girl under an umbrella. And everyone knows it is Miracle Whip on lite bread, not butter, that makes a real mater saminch. I know some of you will tell me it’s these other salad dressings, but Miracle Whip is the tang for my buds.
So, I guess it is up to me, once again, to repeat the true art of making a Tennessee mater saminch so the influence of the trendy people will not corrupt the mater saminch making process. Butter is really good on a lot of things. It’s great on hot buttermilk biscuits with molasses, fresh roasting ears of corn and other items too numerous to mention here. But butter on a mater saminch is just wrong!
To those who are not schooled on the correct terminology of what to call those beautiful red juicy fruits, there is a difference between a “tomato” and a “mater” which I will repeat again. A “tomato” by some standards is a fruit grown hundreds of miles away. A “mater” is a bright red, juicy fruit that has had our love and care for several months and is most certainly what you would call a real "homebody." Homegrown “maters” are what summer is all about. My summer wouldn’t be complete without a fresh “mater” sandwich every day or so. There are many ways to make one, but there is only one true country way to serve up your garden delights. A few years back, I gave out my "mater" sandwich recipe to help the "mater" novice create the perfect sandwich. Just in case there is another generation of those who have failed to perfect their own "mater" sandwich, here it is again.
A country “mater” sandwich has to be made in an orderly routine using mayonnaise, white bread (or lite bread as it is called in the country), and a fresh ripe “mater” from the garden.
You place two slices of fresh lite bread on a plate. Next, take a kitchen knife and spread a good amount of mayonnaise on both slices of bread. Make sure the knife hits the sides of the mayonnaise jar so a click can be heard sounding from the jar. This doesn’t help the taste of the sandwich, but it reminds you to buy more mayonnaise the next time you are at the store.
Next, slice your homegrown “mater” into several thick slices, avoiding the temptation to swipe a slice for now. You should not be able to read a newspaper through any of the slices. This helps hold in the juice, and besides, if you wanted thin slices you could have gotten a “tomato” at a restaurant in town.
Add pepper and salt as desired. Place the slices on the lite bread and gently put the pieces of bread together. Ladies may want to cut the sandwich in a triangle, but real “Tennessee mater eaters” like their sandwiches whole to avoid the losing of any juice. Bite into your sandwich and enjoy what summer is all about.
-- Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org