Friday, September 17, 2010

Garden Tomatoes

Our tomatoes did lousy this year.  The weather couldn't make up its mind, the plants got nipped and finally quit trying.  It was so sad watching them languish away in the garden.  So pathetic next to the Spuds that did so well. We went to the Farmers Market and discovered that we weren't the only ones.  Hardly anyone has tomatoes this year.  Such a tragedy.

We can put a man on the moon, but we can't come up with a grocery store tomato that tastes like anything but polyester.  Buying a store-bought tomato is about at ridiculous as licking a photograph of one.  So, we look forward all year to August and September and real tomatoes.  We grow a garden for no other reason really.  I wonder how the nutritional value stacks up between flavorful and plastic tomatoes.  Why is there even a market for the artificial ones?

With that off my chest, I'm writing to celebrate that Kristi and Ronnie and their tomatoes got it right!  They brought us a bag and we rolled out the bacon, cottage cheese, Doritos, toaster and whole wheat bread and had a feast. These were the nicest, plumpest, reddest, firmest, tastiest tomatoes ever!  The fact that I haven't been eating them fresh from the garden this month, made them better than ever!  I guess scarcity has its virtues and last night the fact was made abundantly manifest.

As much as I like a good BLT, I think I like sliced tomatoes and cottage cheese better.  The combination, though wildly different, is as wonderful as peaches and cream.  Have you ever tried Doritos and cottage cheese?  That's terrific too!  Doritos, cottage cheese and fresh garden tomatoes, now that's the ticket!

Another summer time treat will be my feast today.  I like to take a nice piece of tasty whole wheat bread, anoint it with a touch of Miracle Whip, slice some tomatoes on top, pepper it to taste, then cover it with a nice slab of Tillamook sharp cheddar and broil it in the oven until the cheese starts to bubble.  Yum!  I'm sure I'd like it with Killaree Irish Cheddar too, but I like the orange yellow with the tomatoes, over the pale cream color of the Killaree.  Don't ask me why.  Maybe it's like the white margarine they once sold in the store.  It just didn't look right.  I remember for a while they even gave you some yellow die you could knead into it if you couldn't take the color.  White, it looked like you were spreading lard on your bread, which they do in Austria they say.  Doesn't that sound delectable.  My mom used to spread bacon grease on her bread.  At least that tasted good.  Yellow or not I don't eat margarine anymore anyway; it just isn't natural.  All those modified fats and not nearly as tasty as butter.  Who said, "I can't believe it's not butter?"  I can!   Any way eye appeal is half of a good meal and there you have it.

Now none of this is all that great for my health but the other day I got a note that put things in perspective anyways.
 The Japanese eat very little fat, while people in Mexico eat lots. Both groups suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. Africans drink very little red wine, while the Italians drink large volumes of the stuff but both these groups too have fewer heart attacks. An epidemiological conclusion might be that you should eat and drink what you like: speaking English seems to be what kills you.  
I like that, but I hate my paunch.  So I'll still keep walking and usually watching what I eat.  I'll try to learn another language.  But in the end, I'll probably not change my diet significantly.  Who wants to get old enough to die of prostate cancer, when you could go quickly with a heart attack.  One of my all time favorite movie quotes comes from Jack Nicholson's character in Bucket List.  In the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, he has just finished barfing his guts up in his hospital  toilet.  Braced against the sink, he looks himself in the mirror and says, "Somewhere, some lucky bastard is dying of a heart attack."

So, every now and then, I'll eat my tomatoes adorned with bacon or cheese.  I'll relish the flavor and thank God for being so nice as to give me taste buds and for making food that tastes so wonderfully good.  And, I won't worry too much about it or my inability to do it credit in my dangerous native tongue.

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