Let’s begin by acknowledging tomato’s term of endearment, which I only recently became aware of.
Love-apple. Who knew?!
I certainly didn’t, and I suspect you didn’t either. But now we all do!!
Now that that’s behind us, let’s talk the tuh·may·tow. And even if you choose to call it a tuh-mah-tow, that’s ok. We’re all welcome here!
FYI, if you don’t get the reference, it’s an ode to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s Let’s Call the whole Thing Off, where “You Say Tomato, I say Tomato” is a line that’s so rhythmically repeated within. It’s a song so worth listening to that I have it playing in the background as I type this out!
Here, I’ll make it easy for you to listen to it, too, as you read my random writings:
Anywho, tomatoes are the edible berries of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as the tomato plant.
I’m not necessarily a food wiz, folks, I just know how to research things and then concisely bring them here, to share with you!
Now, for some fun facts to think about, because none of you really care about any academic stuff (and I don’t blame you!):
Tomatoes aren’t always red.
In fact, my mother-in-law brought over three adorable green tomatoes the other day, when visiting.
She had picked them from a friend’s garden – with permission, of course – and plopped them on my dining table thereafter, knowing I partake in culinary delights.
Thanks, mom-in-law (See? They’re not half bad, those mother in laws!)
Next, tomatoes can add “astronaut” to their CV.
What I mean is that they’ve been to outer space!
The ‘Tomatosphere I, II, III and IV’ experiments were apparently held (those Canadians, man!) to better understand the effect of outer space on seed growth and development.
I don’t know much about this program, other than that it’s for K-8th grades and, like, how cool? Read more about that here.
Why would they send tomatoes to space?
Your guess is as good as mine.
But here’s mine: I assume we’re looking into the possibility of having to relocate into space when, years from now, we’ll have used up all of Earth’s resources and it will no longer be plausible to live here.
(Oooo, I’m getting the shivers just thinking about such a move – what moving company would I even use??)
Alright, I’ll tell you what the Tomatosphere program actually said was the reason:
“Tomatoes are practical and valuable plants for space applications. They provide wholesome nourishment, as well as purified water through evaporation from their leaves.”
BTW, there’s a great movie I saw once that dealt with this topic. I think I saw it on a plane ride (it made for a great plane ride filler!), but I digress. It’s called Interstellar and stars Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Ellen Burstyn, and Timothée Chalamet (who’s your favorite of these? LMK and tag me).
Tomatoes as Aphrodisiacs?
In the 16th century, when tomatoes were first introduced, they were small and golden, which led to names like ‘goldapfel’ by the Germans, pomi d’oro (“golden apple”) in Italian, and pomme d’amour )”love apple”) in French. The French were convinced, in fact, that tomatoes were aphrodisiacs.
Ooo la la! (I visited France several times over the past few years and have great pics from our experiences. Looking to breathe life into old posts I’ve since removed, so stay tuned).
Now get this. During Colonial Times, no one ate a tomato because folklore had it that if you ate one, its would turn your blood into acid.
It was literally considered poison, so colonists, instead, grew them purely for decoration.
One of the theories as to why this was believed was the tomato plant’s close resemblance to a “nightshade” plant which is, in fact, poisonous.
The second theory comes from name itself. At the time, names like “love apple” didn’t help tomato’s cause. The Puritans of those times felt like this was an “evil” fruit because of this, helping prove the point of a famous idiom adults always love to quote: Never judge a book by its cover.
Interestingly, in the 1920s, the term “hot tomato” was also slang for an attractive woman. So go figure!
I Will Always Love You, Tomato
Whenever someone tells me they don’t like tomatoes, I think of the book my son and I read, and re-read, and re-read again, called “I Will Never, Not Ever, Eat a Tomato.”
The book is hilarious, cute, and always made us smile, finishing off with the stubborn younger sister of the storyteller actually eating the fruit she vowed never to eat.. and loving it, of course.
I love my tomatoes, and whenever I can throw it into a dish that I make from scratch, I happily do!
I recently simply cut a few up, and laid them on the side of a creamy burrata ball, as an after-school snack. Read about that preparation here.
Tomatoes are full of lycopene, which helps our cells protect us from damage and is what we call an “anti-oxidant”. A good thing.
It helps fight off diseases and cancers of various sorts, and can even help lower our cholesterol levels!
You can read about all of their other health benefits on the web, as they’ve been written about ad nauseam.
I’ll just go right over here and have myself a tomato, with some avocado on the side..
Dedicating a Dance to the Tomato
Don’t ask me why I did this, or what purpose it had, but I created, and then posted (did I really hit that publish button?!?) a Tomato’s-About-to-Get-Chopped Up dance.
Now that it’s out there, for the universe to judge, I may as well propose a challenge, to the tomato AND dance-lovers out there: indulge me with moves of your own.
Publish your own version of Tomato’s-About-to-Get-Chopped Up dance, and help convince my hubby that I haven’t lost it (and that others dance in their kitchens too!)..