Introducing the latest in cheap, bulk veg acquisitions ($1 per kg at the Thornbury Vegetable Emporium),
and lots of it.
Lazies and Gerbilmen,
I give you
and lots of it.
A fine figure of a fruit. The fire-engine of salad ingredients. The red under the bed of soup-substances (only preferably not under the bed). The scarlet woman of pizza toppings. The Pimpernel of pasta sauce colorants. The Little Red Book of things to squirt onto your white shirt just before your job interview. The prohibitive traffic light of salsa stuffs. The Red Sea of fruits best not confused with persimmons. Yes, viva el tomato!
For hundreds of years following its entré to European climes, the tomato was fêted by its fetishists as the apple of love. This is all very well. If squelchy red fruits are your aphrodisiac of preference, who am I to judge? But what concerns me is this: if the tomato is the apple of love, where does that leave the apple? And what of the apple who - stranger things have happened - goes wobbly at the knees and falls strüdel over cider in love herself? Are such apples compelled to masquerade as tomatoes? Must they forsake their core identity?
The tomato's elevation as emblem d'amore is all the more sinister because time was when the apple itself was the apple of love. As all good fruit historians know, back in Elizabethan England (an epoch, clearly, wherein the virtues of a good wholesome sweat hadn't yet been obfuscated by a multi-billion dollar deodorant industry), lassies would keep peeled apples in their armpits, wait til the apples were mightily infused with maidenly perspiration, then pass them on to their equally aromatic beaux. The beaux would tentatively sniff, inhale deeply, inhale once again, and instantly swoon with a languorous ecstasy the like of which no tomato-fancier has ever known.
Elizabeth I's reign ends. Europe goes potty for colonising America. And next thing you know, in flounces the tomato and usurps the humble love apple.
Don't get me wrong: I think tomatoes are smashing. I really like 'em. They go down a treat with garlic and basil. But are they apples? And are they apples of love? Here I must draw the line.