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amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
—Michael Pollan

Feeding nine billion people in a truly sustainable way will be one of the greatest challenges our civilization has had to confront. It will require the imagination, determination and hard work of countless people from all over the world. There is no time to lose.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

The surest way to capture the flavors, colors, and textures of a culture is by using authentic products.
—Lidia Bastianich, from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

The most important habit you can develop is to taste as you are preparing something. Take a sample and taste it critically at different stages of the cooking, then correct the seasonings…
—Marion Cunningham, from Learning to Cook

Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you don’t.
—Michael Pollan

My Mother-in-law’s Favorite Meal: BLTs

Vermont tomatoes

The beginning of August brings the ripening of wonderful fresh tomatoes, and, for me, warm memories of my mother-in-law’s favorite meal: BLTs. I remember discovering these wonderful sandwiches as a child, on vacation with my family at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire. I must have been about 10 years old, and my mother suggested BLs for lunch. This concoction sounded horrible at first, averse as I was to mixing things with vegetables. But my mom’s toasted BLT was yummy, in spite of the Miracle Whip, and I was a convert forever.

Later, I married into a family of inveterate BLT lovers. My father-in-law, a former farmer, was a gardener long before it became fashionable. He grew the fattest, tastiest, most wonderful tomatoes on this earth, and we ate them like locusts. They were folks of limited means, and dining out was a luxury. My father-in-law joked that even on those few occasions when he took “Lilly” out to dinner, she would order a BLT. So, it seemed much more practical to stay at home and eat BLTs – often accompanied by the sweetest corn from the farm next door.

Lilly died about 10 years ago, and with no knowledge of what was to come, we organized a Mother’s Day celebration for her with, you guessed it, BLTs, in her last year. Two months later, she suddenly became very ill, and died three weeks later with us all gathered around her bed. On the night of her funeral, the family gathered for BLTs- a fitting memorial to a wonderful, fun and loving mother. It was late July, and although the local tomatoes were not fully ripened, we enjoyed every bite.

Now- a word about cheese. Cheese has no place in a BLT. If it did, it would be called a BLTC, which it clearly is not. Enjoy cheese in other foods- or on its own. But do not adulterate the BLT with it.

So, what makes for a perfect BLT? First, you have to suspend the harsh reality of what bacon is and what it can do to you. Everything in moderation, and in early August, a little bacon is a slice of heaven. But make it a good bacon–and crispy. Limp bacon a good BLT does not make. So, first the bread. Pick your favorite, but it need not be thickly sliced. This is not about the bread. I prefer honey oat, and I truly believe that toasting it is fundamental to its success. But use what you like. Use high quality mayonnaise on both pieces of toast, a little salt and pepper, and sliced fresh yummy tomatoes. Oh– and don’t forget to add the bacon– the more the better. Top it all off with a crispy fresh lettuce of your choosing, and you are set for the best sandwich that exists on the green earth.ake it good bacon– and crispy. Limp bacon a good BLT does not make.

 If Lilly were here, she would be in heaven- but I guess she already is. Bon appetit!

 Dawn Philibert

 A note from Bronwyn:  Dawn Philibert, a resident of Williston, VT, is the director of Public Health Policy at the Vermont Dept of Health, a fellow Scotswoman and good friend.

Posted: 10-10-2012

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      string(3678) "[caption id="attachment_689" align="alignleft" width="300"] Vermont tomatoes[/caption]

The beginning of August brings the ripening of wonderful fresh tomatoes, and, for me, warm memories of my mother-in-law’s favorite meal: BLTs. I remember discovering these wonderful sandwiches as a child, on vacation with my family at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire. I must have been about 10 years old, and my mother suggested BLs for lunch. This concoction sounded horrible at first, averse as I was to mixing things with vegetables. But my mom’s toasted BLT was yummy, in spite of the Miracle Whip, and I was a convert forever.

Later, I married into a family of inveterate BLT lovers. My father-in-law, a former farmer, was a gardener long before it became fashionable. He grew the fattest, tastiest, most wonderful tomatoes on this earth, and we ate them like locusts. They were folks of limited means, and dining out was a luxury. My father-in-law joked that even on those few occasions when he took “Lilly” out to dinner, she would order a BLT. So, it seemed much more practical to stay at home and eat BLTs – often accompanied by the sweetest corn from the farm next door.

Lilly died about 10 years ago, and with no knowledge of what was to come, we organized a Mother’s Day celebration for her with, you guessed it, BLTs, in her last year. Two months later, she suddenly became very ill, and died three weeks later with us all gathered around her bed. On the night of her funeral, the family gathered for BLTs- a fitting memorial to a wonderful, fun and loving mother. It was late July, and although the local tomatoes were not fully ripened, we enjoyed every bite.

Now- a word about cheese. Cheese has no place in a BLT. If it did, it would be called a BLTC, which it clearly is not. Enjoy cheese in other foods- or on its own. But do not adulterate the BLT with it.

So, what makes for a perfect BLT? First, you have to suspend the harsh reality of what bacon is and what it can do to you. Everything in moderation, and in early August, a little bacon is a slice of heaven. But make it a good bacon--and crispy. Limp bacon a good BLT does not make. So, first the bread. Pick your favorite, but it need not be thickly sliced. This is not about the bread. I prefer honey oat, and I truly believe that toasting it is fundamental to its success. But use what you like. Use high quality mayonnaise on both pieces of toast, a little salt and pepper, and sliced fresh yummy tomatoes. Oh-- and don’t forget to add the bacon-- the more the better. Top it all off with a crispy fresh lettuce of your choosing, and you are set for the best sandwich that exists on the green earth.ake it good bacon-- and crispy. Limp bacon a good BLT does not make.

 If Lilly were here, she would be in heaven- but I guess she already is. Bon appetit!

 Dawn Philibert

 A note from Bronwyn:  Dawn Philibert, a resident of Williston, VT, is the director of Public Health Policy at the Vermont Dept of Health, a fellow Scotswoman and good friend.

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The beginning of August brings the ripening of wonderful fresh tomatoes, and, for me, warm memories of my mother-in-law’s favorite meal: BLTs. I remember discovering these wonderful sandwiches as a child, on vacation with my family at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire. I must have been about 10 years old, and my mother suggested BLs for lunch. This concoction sounded horrible at first, averse as I was to mixing things with vegetables. But my mom’s toasted BLT was yummy, in spite of the Miracle Whip, and I was a convert forever.

Later, I married into a family of inveterate BLT lovers. My father-in-law, a former farmer, was a gardener long before it became fashionable. He grew the fattest, tastiest, most wonderful tomatoes on this earth, and we ate them like locusts. They were folks of limited means, and dining out was a luxury. My father-in-law joked that even on those few occasions when he took “Lilly” out to dinner, she would order a BLT. So, it seemed much more practical to stay at home and eat BLTs – often accompanied by the sweetest corn from the farm next door.

Lilly died about 10 years ago, and with no knowledge of what was to come, we organized a Mother’s Day celebration for her with, you guessed it, BLTs, in her last year. Two months later, she suddenly became very ill, and died three weeks later with us all gathered around her bed. On the night of her funeral, the family gathered for BLTs- a fitting memorial to a wonderful, fun and loving mother. It was late July, and although the local tomatoes were not fully ripened, we enjoyed every bite.

Now- a word about cheese. Cheese has no place in a BLT. If it did, it would be called a BLTC, which it clearly is not. Enjoy cheese in other foods- or on its own. But do not adulterate the BLT with it.

So, what makes for a perfect BLT? First, you have to suspend the harsh reality of what bacon is and what it can do to you. Everything in moderation, and in early August, a little bacon is a slice of heaven. But make it a good bacon--and crispy. Limp bacon a good BLT does not make. So, first the bread. Pick your favorite, but it need not be thickly sliced. This is not about the bread. I prefer honey oat, and I truly believe that toasting it is fundamental to its success. But use what you like. Use high quality mayonnaise on both pieces of toast, a little salt and pepper, and sliced fresh yummy tomatoes. Oh-- and don’t forget to add the bacon-- the more the better. Top it all off with a crispy fresh lettuce of your choosing, and you are set for the best sandwich that exists on the green earth.ake it good bacon-- and crispy. Limp bacon a good BLT does not make.

 If Lilly were here, she would be in heaven- but I guess she already is. Bon appetit!

 Dawn Philibert

 A note from Bronwyn:  Dawn Philibert, a resident of Williston, VT, is the director of Public Health Policy at the Vermont Dept of Health, a fellow Scotswoman and good friend.

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The beginning of August brings the ripening of wonderful fresh tomatoes, and, for me, warm memories of my mother-in-law’s favorite meal: BLTs. I remember discovering these wonderful sandwiches as a child, on vacation with my family at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire. I must have been about 10 years old, and my mother suggested BLs for lunch. This concoction sounded horrible at first, averse as I was to mixing things with vegetables. But my mom’s toasted BLT was yummy, in spite of the Miracle Whip, and I was a convert forever.

Later, I married into a family of inveterate BLT lovers. My father-in-law, a former farmer, was a gardener long before it became fashionable. He grew the fattest, tastiest, most wonderful tomatoes on this earth, and we ate them like locusts. They were folks of limited means, and dining out was a luxury. My father-in-law joked that even on those few occasions when he took “Lilly” out to dinner, she would order a BLT. So, it seemed much more practical to stay at home and eat BLTs – often accompanied by the sweetest corn from the farm next door.

Lilly died about 10 years ago, and with no knowledge of what was to come, we organized a Mother’s Day celebration for her with, you guessed it, BLTs, in her last year. Two months later, she suddenly became very ill, and died three weeks later with us all gathered around her bed. On the night of her funeral, the family gathered for BLTs- a fitting memorial to a wonderful, fun and loving mother. It was late July, and although the local tomatoes were not fully ripened, we enjoyed every bite.

Now- a word about cheese. Cheese has no place in a BLT. If it did, it would be called a BLTC, which it clearly is not. Enjoy cheese in other foods- or on its own. But do not adulterate the BLT with it.

So, what makes for a perfect BLT? First, you have to suspend the harsh reality of what bacon is and what it can do to you. Everything in moderation, and in early August, a little bacon is a slice of heaven. But make it a good bacon--and crispy. Limp bacon a good BLT does not make. So, first the bread. Pick your favorite, but it need not be thickly sliced. This is not about the bread. I prefer honey oat, and I truly believe that toasting it is fundamental to its success. But use what you like. Use high quality mayonnaise on both pieces of toast, a little salt and pepper, and sliced fresh yummy tomatoes. Oh-- and don’t forget to add the bacon-- the more the better. Top it all off with a crispy fresh lettuce of your choosing, and you are set for the best sandwich that exists on the green earth.ake it good bacon-- and crispy. Limp bacon a good BLT does not make.

 If Lilly were here, she would be in heaven- but I guess she already is. Bon appetit!

 Dawn Philibert

 A note from Bronwyn:  Dawn Philibert, a resident of Williston, VT, is the director of Public Health Policy at the Vermont Dept of Health, a fellow Scotswoman and good friend.

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2 Responses to “My Mother-in-law’s Favorite Meal: BLTs”

  1. Nona Pione says:

    Loved my cousin Dawn’s story of the BLT. Now I am officially hungry! I, now also know, what I’ll be having Dawn make the next time she visits me in Florida!!

  2. Bronwyn says:

    Since a good BLT is my favorite special “go-to” meal for almost any occasion, I love the idea that we could turn this into a BLT Club!

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