I can’t believe Labor Day is over. OVER!!!!!!!! Did you barbeque or spend some time outside? Did you just enjoy the extra day off in your workweek? We’ve done the same thing for the past seventeen years…..we celebrate our anniversary.

There are some years we go away and others we just go out for a nice dinner. We have little traditions like me giving him the same card EVERY year and he is awesome at remembering to get me flowers. (There are other traditions but my mom said I am still grounded from this post on zucchini the other day so I’m not going to push it.)

This year was unlike any anniversary we’ve had before….we spent it at a family reunion….for his father’s side of the family. Hmmmm. Should this even be a consideration?

In this case, YES. This side of a family is like a BLT, everyone loves them.

I’ll say the bacon of this part of the family sandwich is my husband’s great aunt. She is the best part of the sandwich everyone looks forward to and can’t get enough of. She has welcomed me with open arms from the first day I met her and I am fortunate that she treats me like one of her own grandchildren.

The tomatoes on this sandwich have to be the daughters of Earl’s great aunt. There are four of them. (Just the right amount of tomato slices if you ask me!) I’ve gotten to know them over the years individually and am constantly amazed at the support they have given me. They are the folks who make you feel like you don’t marry just the man but you marry the family.

All of the cousins are the lettuce. Like the lettuce you can choose for your sandwich, they come in different shapes, sizes and varieties. I have my favorite lettuces that always will be on my sandwich but every reunion I seem to be adding more green to my sandwich. (Sometimes when we get together it is better to “lettuce” alone because I think their mom’s (the tomatoes) would ground them too if they heard our conversations!)

I’ll make my husband’s immediate family that I see/talk to the most the mayonnaise. They are essential to the sandwich too and add their own level of zest and complexity. (But remember, too much mayo isn’t good for anyone!)

The bread would obviously be my husband because if I didn’t have him…I wouldn’t have a sandwich. I’d just have a bunch of stuff on a plate. The ingredients on my plate are awesome but I’m glad to have had him be the base of my BLT.

So where do I fit into this entire sandwich? I think I am some tomato jam smeared on the bread. I’m not a necessary component and no one would notice that the jam was missing. I am the thing that gets on the sandwich that adds a little something different and unexpected. Some people have loved the jam for 17 years; others are just getting their first taste. (I am sure there are some who want to put me back on the shelf.)

I like being the tomato jam. I can be sticky, sweet and have some zing. I can be a bright note or a sour tang. I am grateful to the people who like the variety I add to the sandwich and am okay with those who may want a little less. I am just happy to be in the sandwich.

Tomato Jam


1 1/2 pounds ripe roma tomatoes, cored, peeled and diced

1/2 cup finely diced shallot

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon sea salt


Combine the tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, basil, honey and salt in nonreactive saucepan.

Bring to a simmer.

Once simmering, adjust the heat on the stove to keep the tomatoes simmering until the mixture becomes thick and jammy. (Mine took about 90 minutes but I checked it every 15 minutes.)

Taste and adjust seasonings, as you like. Let cool. Serve at room temperature.  Need to put the extras into the fridge.

I use tomato jam in addition to tomatoes on my BLT’s. I like to put a light layer and then serve some on the side…. because sometimes people don’t want as much tomato jam as you want to offer.