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Baptist sweet tea, Methodist gin and some really ripe tomatoes...that's summertime

Southern women do not sweat. We glisten. We shimmer. We glow. We get the "va-puhs." But we do not sweat. But somehow, we still manage to deal with the heat and humidity of summer. It's like we are just born with this knowledge.

I lived in the Northwest for a couple of years, and while there, I discovered that what I had suspected all along was true. Non-southern women know nothing about heat.

I was amazed that when it was above 80 degrees in Oregon, people began to clamor, "I just can't take this heat!" They began to don skin-baring clothing, search for fans or air conditioning, and kick off their shoes. I was amazed. Those of us from the South know that 80 degrees isn't hot. It's spring.

Back in the day, Southerners with the means left town when it became hot. That's how the resorts in North Carolina's mountains became resorts. A lot of folks just stayed home and sat out on the veranda (that's porch to you folks from the North) and sipped iced drinks. If you were Baptist, you drank iced sweet tea. If you were of any other denomination, you sipped gin that had been kept in the freezer. Some folks drank Mint Juleps. By the way, drinking alcohol doesn't make you cooler, it just makes you happier about not being cooler. That's what I've been told.

Southerners are criticized for moving and talking slowly. It would appear to some that this is a sign of slowness of mind or body. This just isn't true. We move more slowly in when it's hot because it's just the smart thing to do. There's simply no need to be brisk if you don't want to come down with a heat stroke.

A lot of Southern folk lose their appetites in the summertime. That is, until the tomatoes start to come in. Once those are in, you're set...tomato sandwiches all around. Tomato sandwiches make you feel better no matter how hot it gets.

I have it on good authority that the best way to make a tomato sandwich is this: get a really ripe tomato, two slices of good toast, some Duke's mayonnaise (this is important...it must be Duke's) and butter. Yes. Butter. You'll also need some salt, freshly-ground black pepper and some sugar. Yep. Sugar.

Slice the tomato nice and thick. Butter the toast, then put some mayonnaise on each slice of bread. Then lay on two or three slices of tomato and sprinkle on the desired amount of salt and pepper, and just a pinch of sugar.

Roll up your sleeves, lean over the sink and take your first bite. You'll taste all the ingredients, along with the summer heat, without which there would be no big, juicy tomatoes.

And yes, you should let the juice run down your arms.
Posted: Jul 09 2010, 11:55 AM by Red On The Head | with no comments
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