As you know, sometimes I set down my magazine and wander into the kitchen. Thus, Lindy's invitation
, that we share our favorite portable snack, really got me thinking.
Ever since my parents decided that the school lunch* was a basically non-toxic time-saver for busy families, I've been happy to eat out a midday meal. Benj has all kinds of persuasive arguments about not reinventing the wheel, and divisions of labor and I tend to buy them. Lunches, I mean. In some times and places, street food or eating out or not cooking everything from scratch are less fraught than in others. And Philadelphia c. 2000, where and when I once held a 9-5 library job, was one of these less-fraught settings.
But even then, one summer when I was really trying to save money, and house-sitting in the 'burbs and commuting through Reading Terminal to my 9-5 job I came up with this little number:
The Very Resourceful Tomato Sandwich
- 1 absolutely fresh New Jersey tomato from Reading Terminal. Keep a knife handy. Transport the tomato in a plastic tub that will keep it from turning to mush in your bag.
- 1 packet of mayo begged, borrowed, bought or stolen from the Convenient Food Store.
- 2 slices of wheat bread toasted in the library's break room toaster.
- salt from the library's break room salt shaker.
The library also had an amazing roof deck attached to its perfectly standard break room, where I ate this sandwich. Sometimes I added cucumber.
*One of the school lunches was chicken noodle soup, half a PBJ and half a banana. My mother - who, as a treat, let me open the alfalfa sprouts when I wanted a snack while she was shopping - wasn't big on the dishes that people call comfort food so this is odd little combo, served institution style, was and is my comfort food. I used to make variations on it when I came home late at night in my teenage years, which leads me to one of my favorite things about the word "lunch," that it once meant a small meal at any time of day.
Other lunches I like to take include green beans and chick peas marinated in vinaigrette and tomato bread salads.
And the lunch I most frequently bought was from the aforementioned Convenient Food Store in the bottom of the big apartment building on the corner of Broad and Spruce. It's a veggie hoagie - hold the mayo, with oil and vinegar and that bizarre mushy white american cheese. It's divine and a fair bargain. [It's now my profile pic lots of foodie places.]
Also note: Mrs. Delicious on the delights of sandwiches you "eat over the sink."
I first learned about the existence of tomato sandwiches from Harriet the Spy
. A book in which the household had both a (famous) live-in nanny and a (less famous) cook who made lunches and provided cake and milk.Reading Terminal photo comes from canine_devotion at flickr.
Veggie Hoagie is all mine.
Labels: family, food