I’ll eat almost anything. I was a picky eater as a child, but a switch flipped at some point and now I’m the total opposite. Alligator: Tastes like a cross between chicken and fish. Yak meat: Like beef, but somehow beefier. Rattlesnake: Tastes like alligator.
This one threw me — the pineapple sandwich.
They’re a tradition in the South. It’s a few rings of canned pineapple piled between slices of bread, plus a couple swipes of mayonnaise. That’s it. Light, easy and a little perplexing in its lack of adornment.
There is a small amount of controversy over whether you should use mayo or Miracle Whip, but that’s to be expected. Some folks also prefer cubed or crushed pineapple instead of the rings. Still, for some reason, I can’t wrap my Colorado head around this simple combo. Maybe if there were some ham, I’d get it? If the pineapple were grilled, the bread toasted?
To be clear, this isn’t an attack on Southern tastes. I’m originally from the Midwest, land of Jello molds and many a mayo-based “salad.” I respect the South’s proud heritage of sandwich-making, from pulled pork on a bun to the classic tomato sandwich to my personal favorite, the pimento cheese sandwich.
If you’ve never heard of this one, either, here’s how it goes: Home chefs make their own pimento cheese by pulsing sharp white cheddar, mayo, garlic, a hot chile pepper and jarred pimentos in a food processor. Store-bought pimento cheese works, too — Palmetto brand is a fave.
Slap the tangy pimento cheese spread on bread and top with lettuce and a ripe tomato. You can add bacon for extra fanciness, but it’s superb without it, too.
I could go on listing all the Southern sandwich classics: muffulettas, po’boys, fried bologna, the Hot Brown and many more. I’ve tried most of them. But it’s the humble, homemade pineapple sandwich that’s fascinated me today.
Maybe I’ll give it a shot for lunch! What do you think?