Friday, June 8, 2007

The Taste of Tomatoes

I'm told by my mom that as a kid I wouldn't eat bland food, that food had to have a strong flavor. I don't remember much of my childhood, but I do recall that my one of my favorite things was a salad of tomatoes and onions in oil and vinegar, and that I used to sip vinegar as well. I'm still in love with savory tastes, though I'm not opposed to sugar either. One of the depressing effects of agribusiness has been the total draining of flavor from produce. Tomatoes are near tasteless, to the point that I had despaired of ever eating a good tomato again, except for the occasional positive crop of cherry tomatoes. But a few years ago, my mom bought some heirloom tomatoes at the local farmer's market, and I was amazed: here were real tomatoes, full of juice, texture, and actual flavor! They cost more, but there is no comparison between the crap in most supermarkets, and an heirloom. If you're like me, and love tomatoes, I strongly recomend treating yourself to heirlooms. They'll restore your faith in vegetables.
Other things I liked were shrimp and strawberries. Every summer I'd go to sleepaway camp, and on the day I got home, my mom would make me my favorite meal: Shrimps and rice in tomato sauce, and strawberries and cream for dessert. I had forgotten my love of strawberries, until recently, I was in Whole Foods, and they had a special on organic strawberries. So I bought a container, and almost finished it on the subway ride home. I used to love strawberry ice cream too, but my tastes shifted to coffee. I have a strange relationship to coffee: I don't drink it much, but I love everything else about coffeee: the smell, the flavor, the beans. But I'm not much of a coffee drinker. I'll drink coffee, but not on a regular basis. Of course, I had plenty of espresso in Italy, but that's a different story.


Anonymous said...

and of COURSE theres tomatos with fresh mozzarella.
I think theres a shop downtown somewhere that sells tee shirts that read YOU HAVE A FRIEND IN CHEESE :-P

Gorilla Bob said...

I love tomatoes with mozzarella, that's called caprese. Ate that a lot in Italy.

z said...

One of the few benefits of living in central Ohio is the abundance of tomatoes. The hot, wet summers are ideal growing conditions (wild tomatoes growing in the back yard!) Dozens of heirloom tomatoes, in all colors and sizes, are available in the spring and summer.

Also, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, with basil leaves, drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil... Is there a more perfect food?