Wednesday, August 24, 2005
For about three weeks every August, I am buried in tomatoes. Here's what I do with them: I pick, sort, wash, boil, peel, chop, drain, reboil, can, label, and store them. The next day its the same thing. Occasionally, I even eat them. At the end of this period, when I have time to look up, I wonder where the kids are. Oh! School started already?
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE tomatoes, particularly the organic backyard sun-ripened kind. Otherwise, I wouldn’t plant the seeds every January. But by the time I’m wiping tomato juice off the walls in late August, they begin to haunt my dreams.We have stewed tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato soup, baked tomatoes, tomato salad, fried green tomatoes, tomato wraps, gazpacho, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, and salsa. This is at the tail end of a summer spent putting up jams, jellies, beans, and peppers, too. I do not make tomato soap.
Every year I learn something, usually from a failure. This year the lesson came from success. Six cherry tomato plants are too much. Two or three will produce plenty of salad for a family. Anyone who puts out two dozen cherry tomato plants should be shot. That would be me. I gave away as many as possible, but they kept multiplying. I finally took down the blender and made juice, but it was a ton of trouble washing that many ping pong ball sized tomatoes. The large tomatoes have now waned, but the cherry size will continue to bear until frost, or whenever I tear them up by the roots.
Tomatoes are big all over. Except for the little ones. In Valencia, Spain, they set aside a few days just to throw tomatoes at each other. Tomato festivals are big in the US, but here they tend to be like county fairs, with parades, funnel cakes, and Porta-Potties. I found dozens, but I'll just link to a few, from Yuba City, CA, somewhere in New Jersey, and Pittston, PA.
Tomatoes have been honored in movies, too. Remember Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe?
And the classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (yes, the song is here)
I even found a religion based on tomatoes, and they even have a yahoogroup, although its not real busy.
Thought for today: Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.