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Only two things that money can’t buy

Ain’t nothin’ in the world that I like better

Than bacon and lettuce and homegrown tomatoes

Up in the mornin’ out in the garden

Get you a ripe one don’t get a hard one

Plant ‘em in the spring eat ‘em in the summer

All winter without ‘em’s a culinary bummer

I forget all about the sweatin’ and diggin’

Everytime I go out and pick me a big one

Homegrown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes

Wha’d life be without homegrown tomatoes

Only two things money can’t buy

That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes

Guy Clark, the singer/songwriter from Texas, knew a thing or two about the intoxicating taste of summer’s favorite vegetable — or fruit, depending on your source. Clark goes on:

I’ve been out to eat and that’s for sure

But it’s nothin’ a homegrown tomato won’t cure

Put ‘em in a salad put ‘em in a stew

You can make your very own tomato juice

Eat ‘em with eggs eat ‘em with gravy

Eat ‘em with beans pinto or navy

Put ‘em on the side put ‘em in the middle

Put a home grown tomato on a hotcake griddle

Homegrown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes

Wha’d life be without homegrown tomatoes

Only two things money can’t buy

That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes

If I’s to change this life that I lead

I’d be Johnny tomato seed

Cause I know what this country needs

Homegrown tomatoes in every yard you see

When I die don’t bury me

In a box in a cemetery

Out in the garden would be much better

I could be pushin’ up homegrown tomatoes

Clark’s appreciation for the homegrown tomato is not unique. John Denver covered the song in 1988. Apparently he’s a fan as well. There have been countless poems and songs dedicated to the tomato — and for good reason. Is there a better sandwich than a BLT? Is there a better accompaniment to black-eyed peas, a better partner for salt and pepper, a better vegetable to stick between two slices of white bread? I think not.

But what makes the homegrown tomato so delicious? According to science, it’s the balance of acidity and sugar, plus something called “aromatic compounds.” When we bite into a tomato slice, those compounds are released and eventually end up in our nose. It adds to the overall flavor. Supermarket tomatoes don’t have much of those compounds, and it’s why they shouldn’t even be called tomatoes. Maybe tasteless, mealy, red things that resemble tomatoes is a better fit.

Just as songwriters have appreciated the unique flavor of a homegrown tomato, recipe authors have as well. Believe it or not, there are recipes for the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich. Some add mustard (gross), maple syrup (really gross) and avocado (I’m not joking). And some recipes call for wheat bread, which should be banned from all BLTs.

The name is the recipe: you only need bacon, lettuce and tomato — plus a little salt, pepper and Duke’s mayo. Anything else is a perversion of the best sandwich known to man.

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes

Wha’d life be without homegrown tomatoes