August 17, 2022
God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. ~ Genesis 1:29 NRSVue
My grandmother made the best fried tomatoes in the world, which is saying something for a Yankee of German heritage. I have no idea where she got the recipe or the idea. It was never written down. I never encountered the equivalent in a restaurant. From the time I was in middle school until the year she died, August meant Gram’s fried tomatoes, accompanied by fresh corn on the cob.
Gram used ripe tomatoes, blanched them to remove the skin, sliced them thick, dragged the slices through a shallow bowl of flour seasoned with salt and pepper, and then dropped them into a medium hot frying pan greased with a couple tablespoons of melted butter. She’d fry them for a few minutes on the first side, flip them over and do the same on the other side. Once they were browned on both sides, she’d sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over them, add about a splash of milk, turn down the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring a once or twice.
I’ve thought about them every summer since she died, but never attempted replicating them. Last night, blessed with fresh tomatoes from a person at church, I made them. Each step of the way, I imagined myself making them just like Gram did, no recipe, but perhaps a dash of generational instinct and a guiding hand from the great cloud of witnesses.
They tasted exactly like Gram’s did. I could almost hear rejoicing in heaven.
For the gift of food fresh from the earth, planted and picked by a friend, and cooked with a wonderful memory, I give thanks. ~ Anne