Saturday, September 8, 2007

Unequal Tomatoes...

All tomatoes are not created equal.

Out here in California, the tomatoes we can buy in our stores and vegetable stands – even those very expensive tomatoes marked “Vine Ripened!” – have the flavor and texture of a piece of slightly moistened polystyrene foam. We use them on our sandwiches and in our guacamole mostly to honor and help remember the good tomatoes we've had in the past.

This morning I had a tomato experience of the delightful variety: a perfectly ripe New Jersey tomato, at room temperature, sliced in a sandwich. The bread was toasted Dudley's potato bread (quite possibly the best commercial bread on the planet), with mayonnaise and a little fresh tarragon. Heaven. Sheer heaven.

And I have three more of these perfect crimson orbs, sitting on my kitchen table. Tomato sirens, torturing me with their voluptuous beauty and promises of exotic pleasures. The four temptresses are a gift from my parents, in celebration of my birthday and advanced age.

New Jersey tomatoes are the only reason I can think of why America shouldn't give that pathetic excuse for a state to the first taker. It would make a terrific “New World” colony for any number of countries – Libya, North Korea, Iran, or France, for example. Just imagine what lessons those countries could learn from New Jersey's financial black holes, ecological disasters, political corruption, and civil incompetence! So long as I could still visit my parents (who would most likely still choose to live in a French New Jersey), I'd be happy to let another country have whatever they could find in New Jersey.

Except New Jersey tomatoes. I want to keep those tomatoes American!

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