Sense memory is pretty interesting. I think we often take for granted our sense of sight and hearing so much that a familiar face or tune never has the same kind of profound effect as a smell or a taste from the past.  A few weeks ago, I was reminded, through scent, of a time in my life that seems so long ago as to never have happened.  As I breathed in the scent, I was uncontrollably thrown into a moment where I was standing on a sleet-covered sidewalk in the Back Bay of Boston, bathed in the light of a shop decorated for the holidays, holding onto someone who seemed like the love of my life at the time.  For a smell to transport me so quickly through time and space, without the struggle of trying to remember, was almost too much to take.  How does your brain do this to you?  Sure, it happens with an old photograph or a melody every once in a while, but never as much as taste or smell, I think.  

Bread and Butter (Lettuce)

Bread and Butter (Lettuce)

When I got back to my computer, I couldn’t help but reconnect with the love in that memory and tell him about what happened, and how I was taken back to a time so long ago.  His response sort of took me by surprise, but in a great way.  He said he understood sense memory like that, and spun it back to me with a taste memory.  He said that he always thinks of me, with the same kind of intensity, when he makes the fried green tomato BLTs I invented years ago.  When he said that, it dawned on me that I had not thought of those sandwiches in years, perhaps because of broken-hearted connotations.  With so much water under the bridge, I immediately found myself craving one.  

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Unfortunately, I had to wait to make the sandwiches, as it took a few weeks to get real green (unripe) tomatoes from the farmer’s market.  We shared the bacon, lettuce, and fried green tomato sandwiches [BL(FG)Ts] at Sunday supper with Meggie and David recently.  They were better this time, for some reason – maybe fresher tasting.  The sense memory took me back, though, and I was suddenly in my huge, old, greasy kitchen in Boston, sitting in the first chill of late summer and devouring my new sandwich invention.  If you’ve seen Ratatouille, there is a scene near the end where Anton Ego, the food critic, has a moment with the title dish.  He takes one bite of that meal and is transported to his childhood, to his family, and to his own fledgling tastebuds.  Perhaps my reaction to the taste of those layers of goodness was not as overwhelming as Ego’s, but I felt assured that, even in my adult life, I am building memories of moments with food.  




If you are new to fried green tomatoes, don’t be scared.  They are not easily messed up, provided that you have a non-stick skillet.  Perhaps a bit obnoxiously, I do make my own tomato chutney, mostly because I like it the way I make it.  You should feel free to swap out a not-too-spicy store-bought chutney of any kind (not only tomato).  If you need recommendations, just let me know.


11 thoughts on “BL(FG)Ts

  1. mmmm…these look amazing.

    also recently, i saw a BLT sandwich with a fried softshell crab in the middle. apparently it’s to die for.

    think on it.

    love you!


    • fignatius says:

      I am not even going to bother thinking about it. I am just making soft-shelled crabs this weekend. =) Love you, babe.

  2. AwenLue says:

    Hi, I love your site and want to congratulate you on a job well done. I will try some of your delicious looking recipes.

    Be blessed!


  3. Mike says:

    sense memory, is why I like to eat a blt in February once in a while, cause for the next 2 hours it is August and I’m at the lake.

    • fignatius says:

      I hear that, Mike. February in Chicago is the perfect time to transport yourself back to a summer evening on the lake.

  4. vampiregran says:

    I have a lot of large green tomatoes in my garden as I write this. I will be trying this fabulous looking sandwich. Do you have a recommended recipe for the fried green tomatoes or do you just use your culinary smarts and wing it? Great blog. Thanks for sharing.

    • fignatius says:

      Hi, and thanks for reading! I link to a recipe for the fried green tomatoes at the end of the post and on the sidebar under recipes – check it out!

  5. emmmm…. big green tomato
    whole vegetable’s looking so deliciouse.

  6. This looks like a fabulous invention. I’m going to try it tomorrow. I just wrote about it being green tomato season on my kitchen garden blog, and how it’s time to start using them up to give the remaining tomatoes time to ripen. I may need to link to you as yet another tasty way to use the surplus!

    You mention tomato chutney. You don’t happen to know of a green tomato chutney, do you? I was just curious if such a thing exists… I’m getting experimental with our bounty.

    p.s. also enjoyed your Proustian olfactory flashback 🙂

  7. Redeker says:

    Legendary post, I enjoy this spectacular site,I found you along freshly pressed!

    Please do check my personal fascinating training blog.

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