Rules and BLTs

Mom has rules about lots of things: No elbows on the table, and BLTs must be toasted. With mayo.

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In my Mom Food universe, there are a lot of rules. Now, they’re good-natured rules, generally speaking, and Mom won’t force you to follow them, but you can expect some ribbing or an outright “Now, that’s just WRONG!” if you put, say, ketchup on steak (which gets just salt or a teeny bit of steak sauce). Or ketchup on latkes (which get applesauce or sour cream). Or ketchup on meat loaf (which gets nothing).

Hmm, ketchup seems to be a particular rulebreaker in my family.  It’s fine on fried potatoes, but not much else.

BLT

The rules of a BLT are fairly simple. White bread. Toasted. With mayo, bacon, lettuce (it was always iceberg in my family), good summer tomatoes, and optional salt and pepper. That’s all.  Avocados don’t go on BLTs. Neither does fancy stuff like pesto, or trashy stuff like Miracle Whip*.  I don’t make the rules; I’m just reporting them.

These BLTs mostly follow the rules, though there was no iceberg at the store, so I bought romaine. Also, my mother would not pay four dollars for twelve ounces of uncured organic bacon, but really, that was the cheapest thing at the store (and it’s a good sale price!), and I wasn’t going to travel halfway across town to find cheaper bacon, so that’s what we got.

Do you see the mayo?  It’s what my partners would probably call an obscene amount. Me, I call it just enough.  The kid and I are agreed in our opinion that the mayo should cover the bread so that you can’t see bread through the layer of mayo. MMmmmmm, mayo.

BLT

One thing about these pictures that makes them different from one I might have taken in my childhood is that there are only two sandwiches on the plate. My mom never made fewer than twenty at a time. My dad alone would kill off a loaf of bread for his portion. My brothers, when they were teenagers, could demolish their fair shares, too. I have never been a big meat fan, so as often as not, I would have one BLT and then leave the bacon off any remaining sandwich(es) I would eat, leaving the smoky stuff for those who love it. An LT is a beautiful thing to me; want my bacon?

(There are only two ways I really like bacon. By itself, and in a BLT.  This is a standard summer thing for me, and was even when I was a vegetarian, because it works just fine with smoked tofu or tempeh bacon, as far as I’m concerned.  There are a couple excellent vegan bacon recipes in Jo Stepaniak’s Vegan Vittles, if you’re interested.)

* Before the Kraft people try to skewer me, Miracle Whip is trashy, but it’s not bad. I like it, in fact. It’s yummy in some things. But it’s not mayo, or a good substitute for it. I have spoken.

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Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

17 thoughts on “Rules and BLTs”

  1. I am *so* with your on the mayo front: both in the non-mayo-ness of Miracle Whip (the only reason it exists in our fridge is because Todd–bless his heart–is from the Midwest) and that it should completely shroud the bread. No dry sandwiches!

    And I remember, growing up, sometimes we’d just have mayonnaise sandwiches in the summer. There’s still something nostalgic about a slice of white bread (which I almost never buy these days) slathered with mayo and folded in half. Okay, now I’m craving it!

    1. Yes. No dry sandwiches! I should totally print up a t-shirt. :-)

      I had mayo sandwiches all the time, with or without a slice of onion. Really, sandwiches are just mayo delivery systems for me.

  2. Great. Now I’m hungry. Even though I’m now a vegetarian, I still can remember BLT’s. I loved bacon. I’ll have to try those vegan recipes. Anything that might come close to a BLT would be a godsend! :-)

    Stopping by from SITS!

    1. My omnivorous partners really like them, so I know it’s not just me. Fakin’ Bakin is good, too, or you can fry a bit of dulse (seaweed) in a little oil, and it’s a good bacon substitute. (I was veg for a lonnnng time.)

    2. Try this : ) I could live on BLT’s in the summer!

      Ingredients:
      1 lb firm Tofu, cut into strips shaped like bacon
      2 tblsp nutritional yeast
      2 tblsp tamari/shoyu
      1 tsp Wright’s (or other brand) liquid smoke.
      1 tblsp oil (something neutral, not olive or sesame)
      Fry tofu strips on low or medium heat until they are crispy on the outside. The best way to do this is to lay them in the pan in the oil and let them sit for at least 10 minutes, simmering. They should turn easily after that. Turn them and give them another 10 minutes on the other side. Mix the tamari/shoyu soy sauce with the liquid smoke first, then take the pan off the heat. Pour the liquid smoke/tamari into the pan and stir the tofu so all sides are coated, then sprinkle the yeast over all, stir some more, over the heat, until the liquid is gone and the tofu is covered with sticky yeast. Try it. It tastes EXACTLY like bacon. Another variation is to marinate the tofu in the tamari/liquid smoke mixture for several hours and then fry, but it misses a little bit without the nutritional yeast.

        1. I wish I could give some one the credit for that recipe : ) I got it from vegweb a million years ago, but then it was taken down. I don’t know why. I resubmitted it to vegweb and they haven’t put it up? So please do blog it : ) I am in favor of veggies having lots of good BLT’s.

          1. Wow, thanks to both of you! I’ll definitely have to try that recipe!

            Serene, what plugin are you using to send an email reply when you reply to someone’s comment? I love that!

    1. I totally agree with you on the mayo. And thanks for the reminder on the URL. I knew it had moved, but somehow I never remembered to do anything about it. Going to fix right now.

  3. Yes, yes, yes! Really good toasted white bread, schmear of Hellman’s Mayo, crispy bacon and only the best, super-ripe heirloom tomatoes. Perfection. Hate to disagree with mom’s sensible rules, but I do have to admit avocado is a pretty good addition. And I can think of about a dozen other ways I like to eat bacon.

    I’ve always wondered: does the order you layer the ingredients make a difference?

    1. To me, avocado is overkill unless you leave the mayo off. And yes, Hellman’s/Best Foods is the best. (I can make homemade mayo, but that makes it a different thing.

      As to ordering, I think I always make sure the tomatoes are touching mayo, and beyond that, I think it’s mostly an engineering-so-nothing-falls-off situation. :-)

      Fried egg, huh? Hmm. I have to try that. Seems like my brain might say “Okay, fine, maybe even yummy, but no longer a BLT.” You know?

  4. Thats the most yummy looking BLT Ive ever seen!!! I am now jonesing for one of those! our supid grocery store is closed already so Ill have to wait tomorrow. Mmmm…

    1. Thanks so much! And now I want one again, too. I had an utterly unsatisfying one on a pita pocket yesterday, and it just wasn’t the same. Gotta be white sliced bread, preferably toasted.

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