If August is the “Sunday of Summer” …..
then what is the last Sunday of August?
I’m not exactly sure.
But I’m certain it is something to be savored.
It’s hot. The dog days of summer are here.
Why they call them the “dog days of summer” I do not know.
Actually that’s not true. I just looked it up on the interspace web and now I am a well versed expert on the subject.
Ok. That’s not true either. But I did look it up and read a whole bunch about it. So now I have an answer. And it has to do with science and not folklore involving large dogs, big fans, porch swings, and sweet tea.
I must pause to admit that I am no scientist. I like to star gaze with the best of them, and although I did particularly well in my college astronomy class, it was due
entirely in part to the tutoring I got from a boy. He used a reading lamp, an orange, and an apple to explain the basics of the earth’s rotation and orbit. The fact that my husband used fruit and a library lamp to help me with a basic concept most fourth graders master should have made him run. Far and fast. I’m glad he didn’t.
Anywho, I digress. It turns out these hot days of late July and August are called “dog days” because of a star. Not just any star, but a very large star called Sirius “the dog-star” in the constellation Canis Major. Sirius is so big that is visible in the sky during most of the year. However, during the weeks of late summer, Sirius nearly aligns with the sun and disappears in the sun’s light. This lead ancients to believe that during these weeks, Sirius made the sun larger, added to its heat, and made our days hotter. Thus the term “the dog days of summer.”
All fancy astronomy aside, I still somewhat believe we call them the “dog days” because our furry friends are the only one who seem to be with ok with August weather forecasts from professional meteorologists that include words like “hot, humid, muggy, and miserable.”
Jack is our resident expert in “dog days,” and he doesn’t seem to mind any of those meteorological adjectives. The warmth (code for downright hot and yucky) makes for good napping. And good ball catching. And just about anything else that strikes his fancy, including posing for silly pictures after being dressed-up by eight-year-old girls.
Jack and his fellow canines may revel in these days of their namesake star. Good for them. They obviously enjoy the dog days of summer a wee bit more than me. After the cold winter we had I promised not to complain about the heat. But this week is testing my tolerance.
Truthfully the summer hasn’t been that bad. But still. Sheesh. I’m kind of over it.
Luckily this was in my path this morning.
And thankfully, these dog days are numbered.
I am not sure there is anything more perfect than a tomato sandwich in the middle of summer. Unless, of course, you don’t like tomatoes. And that would just be wrong (ahem…and I am not singling out any certain husbands). Tomatoes are the jewels of the gardens in so many backyards this time of year. And this sandwich is the beloved delicacy we wait for all year long…most likely because it is so incredibly hot that any meal that can be prepared without the added heat of an oven is cause for celebration. If you haven’t had one of these babies, then you’d best get on it. Because, bless your heart, you are missing out.
Here’s what you need.
Old fashioned white bread. The very kind that makes you feel like you are doing something wrong when buying it. Wonder, Merita, Texas toast – it does not matter. The squishier and softer, the better. Do not waste your time (or your tomatoes for Heaven’s sake) on low-calorie or wheat bread. It will not be the same.
Mayo. And a big ‘ol slather of it. Pick your favorite one and go to town. Spread it all over your illegal white bread. Do not feel guilty.
Tomatoes. Here’s the important part. These need to be picked straight from your garden or grabbed at the farmers’ market. Period. There is no substitute for a garden-fresh, homegrown tomato. They often don’t look perfect. But perfect appearances are overrated, don’t you think? They may be misshapen or the coloring may be varied. But that is what makes them so good! These jewels of summer are hard to beat. Your grocery store ones may be pretty, but they won’t taste as good.
Finish with fresh ground pepper and a little bit of salt. Let your masterpiece sit a few minutes until some of the juice from the tomatoes meets up with the mayo and the bread. They will get married and live happily ever after. Simple. Delicious. Perfection.