Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ode to a Wrinkled Tomato by Barbara Quinn

Is there anything more perfect than an end of summer tomato? I’ve been eating them on a daily basis for the past couple of weeks now. They’re sweet, juicy, and so far removed from the pulpy mid-winter variety that they should have their own name. A little salt, olive oil, basil, parsley, and a clove of garlic smacked with a knife are all it takes for tomato heaven. The red juices color the oil and beg to be sopped up with a crusty bread. They’re tasty enough for a tomato sandwich now: tomato and a little mayo on a couple of slices of bread.

Last night I visited the local farm stand and picked up some heirloom tomatoes. There are a lot more of those heirlooms this year in the market. I enjoy the odd shapes and colors which are quite beautiful sitting in a bowl on the counter, though they don’t last long there. I’ve had a constantly changing still life on that counter.

I also picked up some heirloom plum tomatoes: plump, long, and perfect for cooking. They were the basis for a fine sauce that simmered with herbs and lobster claws and crabs. Oh, this was an end of summer meal to savor and linger over. My husband and I added a nice bottle of wine and let the sun set while we had our fill of the great bounty that is available to us in this country.

I’m grateful to the farmers, and the fishermen who work to bring us this amazing variety of food. And I’m most grateful for the local purveyors whose simple goods are fresher, and purer than the commercial variety. I’d rather have a small, oddly shaped heirloom tomato any day, brimming with flavor beneath its unshiny skin, instead of a perfectly formed, chemically enhanced red globe. Talk about deceptive advertising. I guess tomatoes are like people. The lined and wrinkled ones have so much more to offer than the artificially enhanced ones. Spending time in the garden means aging to perfection. Here’s to intense taste behind a not so pretty exterior. Eat a tomato. Love those wrinkles.


Joanne said...

Tomatoes are the best of summer. We have 12 plants in our little tomato patch, and we've beaten a path from the back door to that garden for our daily fix.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Oh! Fresh home-grown tomatoes!

We have local apples here and the ones that aren't "perfect" are more sweet and crisp than the red shiny ones that come from wherever else....

I love going to the local farmer's stands and getting fresh produce...ahhhh!

Terri Tiffany said...

I love your comparison of tomatoes to people! Perfect! Really like reading this blog-- makes you look around and find something to be grateful for even when it is hard. Thanks!

Patresa Hartman said...

homegrown tomatoes are my very favorite summer staple. adore avocado & tomato slices. awesomeness.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Barb said: Here’s to intense taste behind a not so pretty exterior.

Yes ma'am. That's me! ;)

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