Breaded tomatoes represented a new dining experience for me after I became affiliated with my hubby’s family. Growing up I can’t remember ever dining on them, even though the ladies in my family were quintessential Southern cooks and this dish is a quintessential Southern icon.
After early-marriage visits to Hubby’s Mother’s home and enjoying Breaded Tomatoes with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this experience was seconded when Hubby and I used to dine at the Claudia Sanders Inn when we lived in Kentucky. This memorable restaurant, named for the wife of The Colonel, was said to be the precursor of the KFC. Alongside the chicken entree prepared with the mysterious 11 herbs and spices was served Breaded Tomatoes, the kiss of the South. In both cases—those of Grandmother Moore and Mrs. Colonel—the “dash” of sugar added was more like a handful. Grandmother was known for adding a surplus of sugar to most any recipe. (In using sugar substitute, as I mention in my recipe, the sugar doesn’t have to be harmful and sweetens without the accompanying guilt.)
When I ultimately obtained from her the recipe (featured in my cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden), I wasn’t surprised to see that the last four ingredients consisted of “a dash of this and a pinch of that”. A lot of guesswork was involved at first, but now I’m an old hand at them—almost like Mama’s, but a good attempt and a wonderful way to use tomatoes.
4 whole tomatoes
1/2 cup water
3 slices whole-wheat day-old bread
salt (or salt substitute) to taste
dash sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 pinch baking soda
In saucepan add 4 diced tomatoes that have been mashed up so that the juice emerges in pan. Cover with 1/2 cup water. Allow this mixture to boil. Break up the bread slices into small pieces and stir into the tomato mixture. Add salt, pepper, sugar, and baking soda. Allow to boil until mixture is thick; simmer for 10 minutes. Makes 4 servings.