Tomatoes

I’ve wanted to write about tomatoes for a while now, but I just couldn’t figure out how to approach the subject. To me, tomatoes are one of, if not the best reason to have a garden of one’s own.

This season I “undertook” growing tomatoes like never before. I decided to get into cultivating them, coaxing them toward maximum production, treating them like the special, Chosen plants they are. The results have been fairly satisfying.

Have you seen the movie “Ratatouille?” Do you remember the scene where Anton Ego takes a taste of the special ratatouille and is immediately transported in his mind to a childhood moment where taste and memory meet? Tomatoes do that for me.

I can munch (if I had to) on the pathetic, bland commercial tomatoes from the grocery store all year and not feel a thing. There’s nothing to them. But when I get my first, real local.,home-grown tomato of the summer my eyes close and I’m taken back. I don’t know when it is, but I can picture exactly where. I’m at the supper table with my family and there’s a plate of thick slices of vine-ripened tomatoes. They were, and still are, the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. Hands down.

So far the tomatoes I’ve harvested this summer have become snax-off-the-vine while gardening, salad items, sandwich additions and tasty side dishes all on their own. I’ve also cooked them into thick sauce with and without spicy local Italian sausage. Today I oven-dried a big batch which, of course, became a little batch of concentrated savory/sweet flavor. They’ll be stewn on pizzas and folded into pastas over the coming months and taking me back to this time when ripe tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes are easy to come by.

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