At ground level

A column about LIFE

Tomatoes from my safe haven

I love sitting in my patio and watching my garden grow. These days it is the tomatoes that are thriving. Every day I get to pick some tomatoes and look forward to making them part of our meal.

I read somewhere that the tomato continues to have an identity crisis. Is it a fruit or a vegetable? According to the Oxford Dictionaries, “… Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. True fruits are developed from the ovary in the base of the flower, and contain the seeds of the plant (though cultivated forms may be seedless)…

“As far as cooking is concerned, some things which are strictly fruits, such as tomatoes or bean pods, may be called ‘vegetables’ because they are used in savoury rather than sweet cooking. The term ‘vegetable’ is more generally used of other edible parts of plants, such as cabbage leaves, celery stalks, and potato tubers, which are not strictly the fruit of the plant from which they come. …”

I never used to like tomatoes. I think my dislike for them stems back to the day of my first hangover when I was a teen-ager. Two mischievous friends stopped by the house to check up on me and handed me a Bloody Mary. They suggested I drink it because it would make me feel better. I never got over the joke, nor the taste of that tomato juice mixture. To this day, I dislike Bloody Marys.

I learned to like tomatoes in the farm. My father-in-law loved his sliced tomatoes on toast. Sometimes, he would slice them and sprinkle sugar on top. I, myself, prefer having them on salad. I also love cooking with tomatoes. So far, I’ve used my tomatoes in chicken fritada, spaghetti, salsa and goulash. Next time I plan to use them in a new adobo recipe, sans the soy sauce. It is supposed to taste delicious, I’m told.

Someone reading this blog will quickly realize I am enjoying my garden immensely. I’ve wondered why myself. Perhaps it’s because in my garden I can actually see the fruits of my labor, almost immediately. The garden is also something I can manage with relative success, within the small confines of my yard, unlike all the problems of life that I have to face.

These days I feel like I’ve been experiencing a meltdown, and the only thing that seems to console me and shelter me from the chaos of life is my garden. It’s become a safe haven. Watering my plants and picking the tomatoes, green peppers and zucchini (the beans and cucumbers were a disaster) seem to calm me – up until the time that darn blue bird dives down on my tomatoes and bites into one of them!

Tomatoes and green peppers freshly picked from my garden.

August 24, 2011 - Posted by | Life | ,

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