Monday, January 28, 2008

Tomato Week

Well, friendly readers, another week, another vegetable. Of course, tomato week brought with it the usual slew of controversy, which I will address first and foremost. Namely: is it appropriate to include tomatoes on vegetablesarefriends or is this particular friend, in fact, a fruit? My research on the subject (by which I mean wikipedia) led me to this helpful information:

Botanically, a tomato is the ovary
, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant, a fruit or, more precisely, a berry. However, the tomato is not as sweet as those foodstuffs usually called fruits and, from a culinary standpoint, it is typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, as are vegetables, rather than at dessert, as are fruits. The term "vegetable" has no botanical meaning and is purely a culinary term.

Additionally, the Supreme Court (for those readers who prefer that authority) ruled on the matter in 1893, stating that for tariff purposes, the tomato would be considered a vegetable. However, as I imagine the bulk of my readers are Arkansans, you should know that our fair and unbiased state has chosen to avoid all controversy by declaring the "South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato" to be both the state fruit and the state vegetable. On an unrelated and fairly uninteresting note, the state soil of Arkansas is Stuttgart.

I hope you will consider this adequate proof of the integrity of allowing the tomato to slip in. As a final argument (and I promise to get off wikipedia after this one last fun fact) the specific name of the tomato translates to "wolf-peach" and how awesome is that? So yes, without further ado...tomato week:

I'm afraid that tomato week did not go quite as successfully as spinach week. Which is not to say that I ate fewer tomatoes, but that at times my heart just wasn't in it. It started off well enough with a kind donation to the cause of tomato herb bread. As appreciation of this donation, I feel some free advertising is in order: if you live in Little Rock, you should definitely trot down to Old Stone Mill Bread (yum!). I also made some tomato sauce the first day and that went rather excellently. I then made some salsa that went somewhat less so. It seems that simply chopping up a tomato and calling it salsa leaves you with an end product that tastes much more like chopped tomato and less like salsa.

I ate a good deal of tomato soup throughout the week, but this was a bit cheating because I already liked tomato soup. It was nice to have the solace that even if I don't come to like raw tomatoes, at least I can still get my tomato fix through warm liquidy tomato soup goodness. At some point this weekend I made some bruschetta, which also came out very well. Unfortunately, we didn't allow enough time to eat it after painstakingly making it, and had to take it on the road. While not the most travel-friendly food, it was so delicious that one friend had no problem scooping up fallen bruschetta from the floor of the car. Luckily, not my vehicle, lest I be remembering tomato week longer that I'd like.

The final test was eating a slice of raw tomato (with some salt and pepper) which was just plain not that good. Of course, in defense of the wolf peach, I realize they are woefully out of season and I'm probably eating more ethylene than tomato at this point, so I promise to give them another chance come summer. Until then, I think soup and tomato sauce will have to tide me over.

Next week: carrots!


Anonymous said...

Found your blog by clicking "next blog" and got a kick out of it. Recommend leaving Brussels sprouts till last. Here's a good salsa recipe:

6-7 tomatoes
1 onion
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers
1 bunch of fresh cilantro -- pull stems off as much as possible.
Salt as needed.

Run all this through a food processor.

Best of luck,

Baryka said...

Susan, I love your blog! I did the same kind of research back in A320... I also used wikipedia and don't really remember why... Then I talked to my ex-flatmates and had the terrible argument with them that left me super-super pissed for the next five hours... Good times with tomatoes :) Hey, back at high school, we always learnt about "false friends" in English grammar. Tomato could be a false friend... :)
Anyway, I do like tomatos, I don't like tomato soup (childhood trauma :)), so it's ok. You're doing great and I'm still proud of you! :) I also need to e-mail you... This will be done after the finals...:)

Susan Thompson said...

Here's a carrot recipe before carrot week is up:

Shredded carrots, raisins, and walnuts in a dressing of peach yogurt.

I've eaten this at a health food store.

TerryT said...

Hints for Carrot Week:

Cooked ones are really boring. Raw is better.

Curried Carrot Soup

Wilt chopped onion in butter or oil. Add sliced carrots. Cover with chicken broth and cook until carrots are soft. Add curry paste and blend in blender. Serve hot or cold (with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.)

Also works with cauliflower.

Melody said...

The best tomatoes are homegrown.
Best from the grocery store are the smaller (roman?) tomatoes.

Melissa K. said...

I'm sorry you don't like tomatoes very much--and I have to ask about the tomato soup. Are you eating the condensed kind, or the kind with lots of spices and chunks of tomatoes in it? I couldn't stand tomato soup for years until I tried some that was thicker and chunky.

sharryb said...

Hey, S.
I didn't realize I'd be getting good recipes (via comments) along with your wit. Keep it up. You're an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Pepper Week Cometh!!!

I have some green chile salsa mix. Perhaps we could put some type of pepper in it and have a feast!