Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tomatoes, anyone?

This time of year is when you can finally get decent tomatoes here. Our desert climate is not as "tomato friendly" as other more humid parts of the country. So, it's a pleasure to eat one that is actually juicy, fragrant, and tastes good.

Tomatoes were once considered to be poisonous; they are a member of the nightshade family, which has several other "toxic" members. According to Wikipedia, the word "tomato" is from the Nahuatl language, and its scientific name, lycopersicum, means "wolf-peach." Curious to think of the tomato as a "wolf peach." To imagine wolves snacking on peaches--or tomatoes...

There is a legend that during the Revolutionary War, a man who was a British sympathizer tried to poison George Washington by feeding him a stew that contained tomatoes. (Of course, George Washington also supposedly slept in various locations around the country, as well as chopped down a cherry tree.) Another legend is that tomatoes were considered to be an aphrodisiac and that the Puritans refused to eat them on those grounds. (This must have been AFTER they discovered tomatoes weren't deadly...)

Now we could discuss whether the tomato is a fruit or veggie, or if it's pronounced "to-MA-to" or "to-MAH-to", but, hey, it's late--let's call the whole thing off...

No comments: