There was a long drawn out “discussion” on twitter the other afternoon regarding my choice of sandwich for lunch. Two response types: adoration from some, gooey “eeewww” from others. I am of the mind that those against certain foods are usually just acting from a conditioned response of some sort. In this case, they’d never had banana sandwiches in my great-grandmother’s kitchen in Icard, NC. Thus, I’ll try to put into words the overall goodness and health of such an experience.
The drive to Icard from my Mamaw’s would be long and winding. But in the end we would pull up in the grass alongside everyone else, hop up the porch saying HI to family sitting around with plates of delectables, and we’d see everyone in the living room as we made our slow progress through to the food table. And in the middle of that table would be a plate of banana sandwiches. Cut in half, you would have no idea how long the mayonnaise goodness had been out on the shady table in the non-air-conditioned home. But you knew it would be good, and no one was dying, so you didn’t care. There was lots of other things out there as well – deviled eggs, fried chicken, biscuits, potato salads, casseroles, cakes and all kinds of pies from all kinds of fresh-picked goodness. But it was the magic of the banana sandwiches that called to me from afar.
After eating my fill of banana sandwiches and too much of the other stuff, too, I would go to the back porch. There next to the bathroom was a wash sink with a community ladle. The water wasn’t cold, but it was easier for us kids to get our fill from that ladle then it was to gulp down sweet tea without refills from actual glasses.
So that’s my childhood – sharing fermenting banana sandwiches and family-styled drinking ladles with scattered cousins from around the countryside. It was good, really good. And probably explains some part of me that needs to stay repressed just a bit, come to think of it.