15 July 2009

Memphis Farmers Market BLT

A few years ago I had the idea of making a BLT from scratch. As in, I'd grow the tomatoes and lettuce, make the bread and mayo from simple ingredients, and cure the pork belly. But then I started going deeper into the process, and wondered about raising my own pigs, wheat, chickens, and growing something that would provide the oil necessary for the mayonnaise. I gave up, and mostly forgot about it. Self-reliance is one thing but I don't have the time to recreate 10,000 years of agricultural progress in my backyard.

Others have had the same idea, and have taken it to fields beyond the BLT. Take the Toaster Project, in which a British artist is attempting to make a toaster from scratch--as in, mining and smelting the metals and creating circuitry from raw materials. Even he is stopping short of building a separate generator to provide electricity.

A much simpler version of the BLT project can be found in this, tonight's dinner: a BLT mostly made from ingredients sourced at the Downtown Farmers Market. Hawaiian-style bread from Big Ono Bake Shop in downtown Memphis, bacon from the pasture-raised pigs of Barnes Farms, and luscious Brandywine tomatoes from a vendor whose name I neglected to get. I cheated on the mayo (still no local source of oil) and lettuce (must have been sold out by the time I got there). But I've got to say that it was a damned satisfying sandwich. It's probably the best bacon I've had in my life and I'm a huge fan of heirloom tomatoes. As for the bread, big loaves of King's Hawaiian were an occasional treat on the old family dinner table, and it's great to see someone making this locally.

8 comments:

coneslayer said...

Ruhlman is hosting a BLT from Scratch project this summer. Last summer I made a pretty good local BLT.

Benito said...

Coneslayer,

Thanks for the links! It's a fun project that really makes you think about each ingredient critically.

Cheers,
Benito

Samantha Dugan said...

Um....yum! Did you make your own mayo?!

Benito said...

Sam,

Not this time, but I make it from scratch on a regular basis. I love to use tarragon vinegar, a little Dijon mustard, and a pinch of cayenne pepper in mine.

I just remembered that years ago I did a sort of gourmet BLT using proscuitto, a baguette, and tomatoes and microgreens that I grew on my own.

I also used to do a ton of bread baking, but grew tired of it after ten years.

Cheers,
Benito

Nicholas said...

No wine?

Samantha Dugan said...

Benito,
I've made my own a few times but for the most part, I loves me some Best Foods....is that Hellman's where you are?

Benito said...

Nicholas,

No wine with this one, but it could be a good match for a smooth sparkling wine.

Sam,

Yes, Hellman's (Best Foods) is the market standard in these parts. Some might use Miracle Whip, but I don't allow that stuff in the house. As a nation we're moving towards greater racial and religious tolerance, but the Mayonnaise/Miracle Whip divide may never be resolved.

Cheers,
Benito

The Wine Commonsewer (TWC) said...

Some might use Miracle Whip, but I don't allow that stuff in the house.

Excellent move [crosses himself].

I was raised on Miracle Whip and it is detestable stuff.