August 14, 2007

Busy canning

In the Garden
At the feedlot the clink of canning jar lids and rings is heard. It has been a good year for tomatoes all over the area this year. The old feeder grew a few of the popular heirloom varieties, along with the usual freakishly big hybrids. They seem more like normal tomatoes to me, and are nice and tasty.

It is hard to believe that Europeans had no tomatoes before they were imported from the Americas. Mediterranean cuisine relies so heavily on this member of the nightshade family, you might think the cooks there had been using them forever.

When first introduced to white folks they were afraid to eat them, fearing they might be poisonous. Medieval reasoning was at the same time transforming itself into a more modern, rational mode of thought. When folks saw people eat tomatoes without having visions or dropping dead, the fruit's nickname went from "Moor's Apple" (not a good name when the memories of the Crusades were still fresh) to "Love Apple".

Tomatoes didn't catch on among the Europeans settling in North America until catsup (or ketchup) came along. From that moment on, the American palate was doomed to a future of Big Macs, Whoppers and french fries.

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