Look at that sandwich up there. Just look at it. Doesn’t it look magnificent? And never mind the real New York bagel involved. I’m talking about that luscious French tomato!
Yes, I said tomato. I feel very strongly about tomatoes, which may seem silly to most people. I mean, they’re just around to add a little color to your salad or make you feel less guilty about your hamburger, right?
Tomatoes are the absolute highlight of summer. They are a glorious miracle from the garden, meant to be savored and celebrated during the year’s warmest months. You should not feel guilty spending a little bit more on the lovely misshapen, often oddly colored specimens that appear at farmer’s markets. They are superior. And definitely worth the price when you consider the tasteless, listless, perfectly round red orbs that usually dominate the supermarket aisles.
Do these beliefs make me a total weirdo? Husband thinks so. He usually tolerates my tomato idolatry with lots of eye rolling and grumbling about the euros I spend on produce.
But I can’t help it. I’m a vegetable snob. I blame the long, hot afternoons I spent in high school working at the roadside produce stand in my town. There I rang up sweet corn and peaches and squash for the locals, under the tutelage of one of the wackiest, most loveable produce nazis I’ve ever met. He would chase out customers who dared to leave half shucked corn behind (dries it out and ruins it!) or be so bold as to squeeze a tomato too hard (bruises! gah!).
I think he may have actually lectured a woman all the way to her car about the cost of a good peach. But he did it because he cared. And I have carried a little bit of that crazy devotion to good taste with me ever since.
So good people of the blogosphere, take a minute this summer to find yourself a real tomato. Slice it extra thick, sprinkle it gently with sea salt and fresh pepper. If you’re feeling extra saucy, add a dab of mayo or a piece of bacon or both on a hunk of crusty bread. Or just do what we used to do at the market, and take a bite out of it like a ripe, juicy apple. I promise you won’t be disappointed.