The Suitcase Lady


March 1, 2016, 8:37 pm

“I would like a tomato next week,” my husband requested.

“I will be happy to get you one,” was my reply. I knew he wanted me to put the tomato on his favorite open face, hard roll, grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. But there is more to the story.

I recently had come across a wonderful variant on his classic grilled cheese. We were eating at the Swedish “goats on the roof” restaurant, Al Johnson’s. No goats were on the roof as it was covered in snow, but a new sandwich was on the menu. The creation sounded intriguing, a grilled Havarti cheese, pickled beets and fresh spinach sandwich. I love all those ingredients, although I wasn’t sure that this combination would work technically. I envisioned biting in and having beet juice flying out in all directions. Since I was with real friends, I ordered it. They wouldn’t care about pink spatters.

The sandwich was delicious and not a mess to eat. I’ve been making it at home, sometimes substituting arugula for spinach, and we both enjoy it.

I would be happy to make the beet version of the GC all winter long as winter tomatoes bear no resemblance to our deliciously tasty summer ones. But my husband is a true tomato lover who likes an occasional winter tomato even though he realizes their limitations. Hence, the request.

Coincidentally, the next day, the New York Times food section ran a two page article on using winter tomatoes and other non local produce. The writer suggested buying two pounds of these challenged tomatoes, pouring SIX cups of olive oil over them and baking the concoction for an hour and a half.

TomI will not be doing this. That calorie count and mess would be staggering, all to infuse a tasteless piece of produce. I do, however, applaud the premise of the article which was basically, “shut up, face the fact that it is winter, eat what is available at your local grocery and be grateful you have food.”

My husband will get his tomato straight up, I will stick with the beets out of the glass jar, and neither of us will travel to the Southern Hemisphere to be true locavores.

1 Comment for this entry

  • eve robillard

    I remember that picture of Betty from the 50’s. And yes, I believe I owned that book as a newlywed, too. I remember it as being red-and-white checked. Checkered? That post war 50’s cooking was something else, right? Dinty Moore. Spam. Our modern mothers . . .