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Pandemic Pizza: Part 30

Submitted by Bethany on Mon, 08/09/2021 - 10:41

To me there is nothing that tastes more like summer than a BLT. It is a very basic sandwich, yet can have many variations, depending on what you grew up with.

When making a BLT, the first decision to be made is what kind of bread to use. If you have been following my posts from the beginning, then you may remember that growing up we rarely had store bought bread. As much as I love homemade biscuits and cornbread, they are not the right foundation for a BLT. (Although a bacon and biscuit sandwich is a good breakfast sandwich.) So when BLT’s were on the menu, my Mom would buy white, sliced bread.

The next big decision is whether to toast or not. Those who toast claim it is better because the bread doesn’t get soggy from the juices of the tomato. I prefer it not toasted as I love the soft white bread soaking up some of the juicy goodness from the tomatoes.

The next major decision is whether to use mayonnaise or Miracle Whip Salad dressing. And, depending on the region of the country, there is a debate on which mayo is better, Hellman’s or Duke’s. It really is funny that people consider these to be such life altering decisions. Growing up we only had Miracle Whip in our fridge. So everything from sandwiches, to potato salad, to deviled eggs was made with Miracle Whip.

The divide of people’s opinions became very apparent when Bethany and Joel got married. I learned he wouldn’t eat my deviled eggs because they were made with Miracle Whip. So after that, I always made two batches of deviled eggs. I will say that I keep both Hellman’s and Miracle Whip in my fridge. There are certain things that I do like with Hellman’s, such as Depression Cake. (Which reminds me, Matthew and I need to make one sometime for Doughday.) But for BLT’s, I prefer Miracle Whip.

The next decision is what kind of bacon. When I was young my Dad preferred to do his own butchering and so we always had thick slab bacon. I will say thick slices of bacon on a BLT are the best. A few years ago I discovered Hormel Black Label Jalapeño Bacon. (In case you haven’t noticed, we like jalapeños.) This makes a pretty tasty BLT.

The next component is a tomato. I don’t think there is any debate here. A big, red, ripe, juicy tomato is in order and if you have homegrown all the better. And lastly is the lettuce. There may be some debate here, but I grew up putting iceberg lettuce on mine. So that is my preference.

My Mom would put plates of the ingredients on the table so each person could assemble their own. It seems everyone has their own preference for assembling a BLT. I like Miracle Whip, then lettuce, then bacon and several thin slices of tomato on top.

Since we have lots of big, red, ripe, juicy tomatoes in our garden I decided to try a BLT Pizza. But, since I don’t like my pizza crust soggy I sprinkled the tomatoes with salt and let them drain on paper towels for a bit.

Sunday’s Creation: BLT Pizza…my pan crust topped with Miracle Whip, sprinkled with Penzeys Sandwich Sprinkle, cheddar cheese, Parmesan, tomatoes, bacon, mozzarella and garnished with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and a drizzle of Miracle Whip.

Another nod to a summer favorite is melon…

Friday (Fruit) Pieday: Cantaloupe and Pancetta Pizza…my pan crust topped with ricotta and honey, Parmesan, sliced cantaloupe, a fresh grind of sea salt, pancetta, pecans, mozzarella, garnished with basil and mint.

And of course, burgers on the grill…

Thursday Doughday: Homemade hamburger buns topped with grilled burgers, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes from the garden with sides of baked beans and homegrown cucumber salad.

Next week is the start of the eleven-day great Iowa State Fair.

Our cooking and baking will be an ode to some of our fair favorites.

~Peggy Palmer-Johnson