Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tomato Pie

Even though I am a transplant to The Land of Palm Trees I have always considered myself a Southerner since I was born and raised South of the Mason-Dixon Line and after all the family cemetery plot in Southeastern West Virginia does have a couple soldiers of the Confederacy buried within. The differences between living in the South versus other regions of the country are stark. It simply goes beyond sweet tea. As natural and logical as the Southern lifestyle seems to those of us who were born and live South of the Mason-Dixon Line it probably baffles those from the Midwest or the Northeast. But that's okay with me. No, this isn't going to turn into a geography lesson, and certainly not a history lesson even though there are "huge" divides in perspectives on how certain aspects of American History are taught "down here" versus in the chilly "Nawth." But it's true, there are differences much more lighthearted than historical slants and the colors of states on an election night news network.

For instance, a humorous quote regarding differences in religious tolerance in the South versus the North; "in the North people say you worship in your way and we will worship our way, in the South we say you worship God in your way, we will worship God in His way." Humorous? Yes, Accurate? Absolutely.

But yes, there are differences, perhaps the greatest difference is in the way food is prepared and presented. For instance, if I were to tell a New Yorker about the great tomato pie that my wife created last weekend with heirloom tomatoes he would immediately tell me that "nobody can make a tomato pie like you can get in Brooklyn." And in a way he might be correct, however what he refers to as tomato pie doesn't come in a deep dish apple pie plate.

Tomato pie, the Southern version, is one of those things you either love or hate, there simply is no middle ground. This has been a bumper crop year for tomatoes in our kitchen garden and my wife had been admiring the tomato pies for sale at the Farmer's Market for the past couple of weeks saying that she had never made one but would like to try. So when she opened her current issue of Southern Living and found a feature on tomato pie, the deal was sealed.

The recipe she wanted to try called for two pounds of heirloom tomatoes, and it just so happened we only had a couple heirloom purple cherokee tomatoes ready to harvest so off we went to the Farmer's Market. It just so happened that our friends from Gruber Farms had a nice selection of various heirlooms that would work just fine for the pie. For her maiden voyage Michelle prepared quite a tasty dish, a definite keeper for the family recipe box. She served the piping hot pie with some local South Carolina steamed peel-and-eat shrimp. It was a perfect summer supper, oh so good.







  1. Hmm... Since I have never heard of this I asked my mother, "Have you ever heard of tomato pie?"
    "No, I haven't. What is it?"
    She's been down South since '26. And she is well versed in the tomato and its uses. She fed my dad tomato sandwiches for the first two weeks of their marriage until he couldn't look at a tomato for the rest of his life. I'll have to ask around to further delve into this "Southern" delicacy.

  2. I was recently introduced to the concept of tomato pie, tried a Paula Deen recipe and LOVED it. Will you post your recipe so I can compare. The photos look terrific.

  3. So good. It is a new favorite for me as well.


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