Fresh Tomato Sandwich, Fresh Figs, and a month in the life . . .

Summer LunchThis morning I noticed a hand-painted sign near the road at a little old man’s house just up the road, so I whipped in and bought 9 beautiful, home-grown tomatoes for $3.50, and he threw in the fresh-picked “Improved Celeste” figs as lagniappe (lan-yap = “something extra”), and I couldn’t wait to get home and make me a ‘mater sammich for lunch.  Can you believe that I never had a fresh tomato sandwich until just a few years ago?

I was on a spring birding trip on Grand Isle where I met some lovely ladies who taught me a lot about the birds we were seeing.  Later, they invited me back to their hostess’s camp where she served delicious tomato sandwiches on whole wheat with fresh, ripe Creole tomoatoes and Veganaise, a new-fangled healthy mayo I had also never eaten before. Well, I fell in love with this sandwich.  I mean, who knew?  I guess it’s like a BLT without the B, right?  And honestly?  It’s just as tasty without all the fat and guilt of the B.  Okay, back to today . . .

Summer LUnchWell, full-blown summer is almost here, but it’s already the busy season down the bayou for all things having to do with warm weather and water.  Since I’ve been so busy doing all the things that require my actual presence, this post seems a little overdue.  Because I don’t have any jaw-dropping photos to share of something earth shattering I’ve come across in my journeys and no photos of big fishes, how about I just fill you in on a few of the things that have been going on the past month.  Maybe I’ll just hit the high points?

Termite Fire FightingJune 1 was a landmark day in the lives of two of our sons. Termite, the youngest, started “Tankerman’s School” in New Orelans.  He’s been working as a tugboat deckhand since last August and is now working his way up the ladder, just like his two older brothers have done.  He finished his classes, passed all 3 tests, including fire-fighting, and now waits for four weeks to receive his U.S. Coast Guard Tankerman’s License.

Miah First Day at workMeanwhile, Miah transitioned from school to work by starting his first day at Cajun Confections, making and packaging all sorts of south Louisiana- themed chocolate goodies.  He has just completed his second week, and so far he seems to like it and has only had a couple minor hiccups in the process.  I’m hoping he sticks with it, but if this isn’t the gig for him, I do have a Plan B in mind!

So, in the past month I’ve been on four fishing trips, four wetland tours, and two crabbing trips. I’ve gone to four meetings and been on two conference calls. I’ve done one episode of Hunt Fish Talk radio show, written a full-length magazine article, written a $5,000 grant, and worked over 20 hours at my part-time job as Ex. Director of Keep Terrebonne Beautiful. I’ve maintained Facebook pages for 3 groups, plus all the other stuff that goes with running a household and three businesses, including making 54 beds at Camp Dularge in less than a month. Oh, wait, I went to lunch with a girlfriend three times, two of which required a 90 minute drive, round trip.  I cooked a big pot roast meal for the whole family one night, plus we all went out for hibachi one night to celebrate the end of school for Miah.  Whew!

Coco-TermiteOn our last crabbing trip, Termite and his girlfriend, Coco, and I caught an ice-chest full of crabs, as you see in the photo above. Four dozen of those were nice enough to hit the boiling pot, and man were they sweet. Three dozen were bait crab that I put in the freezer to use on an upcoming fishing trip next weekend.  I’m teaching two ladies from the big city how to fish for reds about four different ways. Cracked crab on the bottom is one of those ways, and I sure hope it pays off.  And yes, y’all, I will be careful handling those blue crab when I bait the hooks, because Lord knows I don’t want to catch that Vibrio Vulnificus again. No, cher, I absolutely, positively do not.  By the way, Coco is now BW approved!  Isn’t she lovely?  And pretty inside, too!

Lastly, in the past month, I’ve taken over 400 photos of everything from people on tour to plants, gators, birds, and boats; uploaded them to hard drive, labeled and categorized.  I’ll just stick a sampling of them in a gallery for you to enjoy. Also, in my water journeys so far this month I’ve identified another beautiful aquatic that I’ve been calling Alligator Grass all this time.  Well, it’s not gator grass, it’s called Primrose Willow, and what a beauty it is.  It’s one of the yellow flowers in the gallery.

The American Lotus are in bloom right now, and that is my featured article for the August issue of Country Roads Magazine.  The article explains the meaning of Graine a Voler, the Cajun name for this multi-purpose aquatic,  and explains its many uses, past and present.  You’ll see some of those leaves in the photo gallery as well.  Notice how the rainwater magnifies the veins in the leaves! 

Enjoy the photos and then let me know in the comment section what you’ve been up to.  Then, go make yourself a ‘mater sammich and let me know just how good it was.  I’ll even allow you to use REAL mayo!  Before you know it, it will be time to make fig preserves.  I’m going to try something new this year!!!


PS  Would you believe this post took me over three hours to complete?  I had to go through a lot of photos to pick the ones I wanted to share with you!

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  1. Nice! Looks like you’re still winning. Got a new one for you. I used a small piece of that red oak flooring for a smokey halibut dish tonight. Put the seasoned filet on the board, top it with sliced tomatoes, place it on a screaming hot charcoal grill. The bottom of the board burns and imparts oaky smoke into the filet. When the fish just flakes away, remove it and spread some fresh basil pesto on top. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!

    1. Oh, man, that sounds fabulous! I only have half a bottle of Quatreaux left! Man, that is some good stuff, too! Can’t wait for next year’s batch!

  2. How on earth did you get this far without eating tomato sammies? Just about the only time I like eating white bread. I was about 10 before I knew bacon could be added.

    You’ve been a busy girl, BW. And yes, the first thought in my head about the crabs was “Be careful!”. I’m a worrier. Fabulous pictures. Thanks for taking us along on your travels.

    So pleased to hear about the accomplishments of Termite and Miah. Coco is an added pleasure.

    Sounds like your busy summer has just begun! Hope to see ya sooner than later.

    1. I guess it’s just not something that Mother ever made for us. We dearly loved fresh peeled, chilled sliced tomatoes in the summer and ate all that we could, but we just never ate them as the meat of a sandwich.

  3. I keep cherry tomatoes washed and in a bowl on the cabinet for me to snack on. Beats eating fattening stuff that I love. And those fresh from the garden tomatoes are sooooo good in a mayo sandwich! We had many lunches as I grew up of fresh tomatoes and mayo. If you want to add a bit of crunch to it, layer some regular potato chips on it.

    I have been running mom from doctor to doctor, filling her prescriptions, canning jellies and trying to clean mold and mildew from all the walls, woodwork and furniture. All the rain was so welcomed but, our house sat in several inches of water for nearly a month and everything molded. That is no fun to clean.

    1. Oh wait a minute. As in water UNDER the house? Not IN the house, right? I know if you had flooded you would have let me know something. Now I feel horrible that I didn’t ask how y’all were making out over there. So, now that there’s more rain coming, how ARE you doing?

      1. It was water under and around the house. It was about 10″ deep on the north side and about 4″ around the rest. Our house sets on tree stumps and the new pilings they put in last summer when we had it leveled. Unfortunately, the rain and standing water is damaging that work. We have had an influx of bugs and can’t spray until it dries out some. At least I haven’t had to kill a snake yet. My son has had 4 show up inside their house! We got an old fashioned “belly washer” as mom calls it, today. For about 5 minutes it rained so hard we couldn’t see clearly to the end of the block.

        Shoreacres, glad you got that surgery done! Sight is so precious. And moms figs are loaded because of all the rain but are nice and green also.

  4. What a full, wonderful post. I’m glad to get the news about the “kids” — although they really are all grown up now, aren’t they?

    I had my first sweet corn from the garden and vine-ripe tomatoes last week. And yes, on the tomato sandwiches. I prefer mine on toasted bread (for that crunch!) and a bit of real mayo. I do love bacon and tomato, though. You can hold the lettuce. I allow myself the pleasure of a pound of thick-sliced bacon. When that’s gone, it’s back to plain tomato sandwiches.

    We’re still waiting on the figs to ripen here. They’re on the trees, but green and hard. In the meantime, I’m making do with fresh peaches and blackberries. And purple hulls and lady cream peas.

    As for me? The bigggest news is that the cataract surgeries finally are over, and despite a couple of days of high anxiety on my part after the second, all is well, and I’m seeing with 20/20 vision in both eyes. I’m mostly spending my days just looking around at stuff. You just can’t believe — I can’t believe — how bad my vision was, and how good it is now. On a little trip last week, I realized i can see all the way to the horizon. I can drive at night again, and, by golly, I could stand night watch again!

    Last week I went to Goliad to visit the Presidio La Bahia, where Fannin and his men were massacred. The fort is wonderful — and you can stay there. I did, and you can’t believe what an experience it was to be all by myself in that fort for two nights, after everyone was gone. Expect something about that to show up in my blog.

    Otherwise, it’s been all about flooding here in my area. One of my best friends lost her house and car in Houston’s big flood, but the rebuilding already has started. Now, I see there is an invest in the southern Gulf they’re predicting to move this way with more rain, and a little wind as lagniappe. Oh, joy!

    1. Oh joy! That’s what I’ll say about your successful eye surgeries! How wonderful it must be to have gotten back 20/20 vision. I guess losing our vision, slowly over time, is akin to the frog in the boiling pot! You adjust over time and don’t realize how significant the loss until you get it back. I am thrilled for you that you can now stand night watch, although I’m still not quite clear on what that means!!! Spending two nights in an historical fort alone? I bet you were talking to Fannin while you were there! I’m looking forward to that blog story!!! I’ve been so remiss in checking on my TX neighbors. Shame on me. I have an aversion to flooding and tend to just block it out. I guess it’s my way of not sinking into any kind of latent trauma over my own experiences with flooding in the past . . . sad excuse but the only one I have that holds any real water. Hope you are high and dry and sure hope this event in the Gulf is only a passing thing.

  5. Wendy, so glad to here about the boys…..Just got a bucket of fresh tomatoes from our Tall buddy. We had a bacon and tomato sandwich ….with turkey bacon. It was wonderful!!!!! Where can you find the other mayo????

    1. Yesterday, we had bacon, AVOCADO, and fresh tomato, and it was divine. No more BLT for me. I’ll take BAT from now on! The Veganaise is in the organic food section of Rouse’s last time I bought it. Tell Tall Buddy I said hey!!!

      1. I need to send you my recipe for shrimp cocktails. Spicy, tasty and just down right good. You could use crab meat in it too.

  6. What a bloody fantastic post! I may need a Rum & a rest just trying to keep up with all ye’ve done this month! Glad to hear of it…
    Salutes to Termite (for both the passing grades we knew he’d get AND finding a great Lass) & Miah (can we call him ‘The Candy King’ now?).
    Awesome photos all ’round, too!

  7. My 1st time meeting you. I love all things Louisiana.
    I love tomatoes and fresh crops of them send me into lala land. (makes me happy).
    Sometimes I cut them up, add a dollap of real mayo and eat with crackers.
    My all time favorite is “grilled tomato sammies. Butter both sides of 2 slices of bread, when 1 side is toasted put sliced tomato on it salt & pepper then lay on the other toasted bread, toast the outer slices, there’s just enough heat to bring the sweetness out in the tomatoes. It doesn’t get any better.
    I am thrilled to have found your site.

    1. Marie, I’m thrilled that you found the site, too! Sounds like a grilled cheese with tomatoes instead of cheese, right? I will have to try that! Thanks for sharing your little recipe with us. Please come back any time and thanks again so much for leaving a comment! BW

      1. Exactly “a grilled tomato sandwich” The secret to making it so good is buttering and toasting both sides of the bread.