Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Ever since I was a kid, I have hated tomatoes.

I hated them because they were red. I hated them because they smelled funny. I didn't like their taste, and their firm-on-the-outside, squishy-seedy-goo-on-the-inside texture made me gag. They were Kryptonite to my Superman. Just smelling the little red buggers was enough to leave me weak in the knees and send me running from the dinner table.

The only way I would eat anything tomato was if it didn't look or taste like a tomato. Spaghetti sauce was good. Ketchup was good. Minestrone soup was out because it had visible chunks of tomato. Tomato soup was out because it tasted too much like tomatoes.

For years, my mother would beg and plead, trying to get me to eat tomatoes. I'd refuse. She'd sigh and give up for the time being, but then try again the very next time she served the dreadful things. As I grew older, she tried to sneak them into foods like salads and sandwiches, hoping I wouldn't notice.

I always noticed.

Like all kids, I grew up and my tastes changed. As an adult, I found that I still didn't like tomatoes by themselves, but they were good in things. A slice of tomato on a hamburger or sandwich changed from a hated and feared crisis to something pleasurable. Minestrone soup strangely became quite tasty. Tomato soup, well, it was still pretty nasty.

Like everyone who pays even the smallest amount of attention to the news, I've learned that tomatoes are actually really good for you. All that lycopene and vitamin C is really healthy, so I've really tried to get past my dislike of raw tomatoes. I've tried to eat them in salads or plain, but every bite just sends shudders of revulsion up my spine.

Try as I might, raw tomatoes by themselves fall squarely into the yecch category.

This afternoon, I was out in our vegetable garden, and I discovered that one of our tomato plants had one ripe tomato on it. I lifted it up and looked at it. It was red, ripe and ready to be picked. Secretly, I was hoping that tomato horn worms would devastate our crop. The Kid was watching.

"Are you going to eat that?" she asked.

Suddenly, I was trapped.

I try, as much as I can, to model good behavior for The Kid. I want her to grow up to be honest, law-abiding, and decent. I want her to do well in school and to become a happy, successful and healthy adult. I want her to eat her vegetables.

I had to set a good example, so I picked the tomato, brought it inside and split it with The Kid and my SO.

I trembled in fear. I hoped I wouldn't gag. On the outside, I was smiling, encouraging The Kid to take her first bite. She did.

"It's sweet!" she exclaimed. I tried not to make a face.

It was a small tomato, so my share didn't amount to more than just a bite. I figured I could gag down a tiny piece of just about anything, since as a kid I swallowed several raw eggs when I was at summer camp. I had to set a good vegetable-eating example for The Kid. I mentally held my nose and tossed my piece down the hatch.

I chewed and expected to gag. It was delicious.

1 comment:

Lady T said...

perhaps i can get tomatoes mail order from your little garden..lol.

i am not a fan..but noticed that i can now tolerate them on sandwhiches or the like...perhaps another 5 years or so i can eat one like an apple as my grandmother used to.

maybe not.....*wink*