Monday, August 11, 2008

The Tyranny of Tomatoes

In the past week and a half, three people have given me tomatoes. One person has brought tomatoes three times--my neighbor, Franco, who is the loveliest person I've had the pleasure of living next door to in a long time.

I have a lot of tomatoes. Garrison Keillor, the great Lutheran sage, has a wonderful monologue about tomato season in Lake Wobegon, which includes leaving bags of tomatoes on neighbors' porches, ringing the doorbell and running away. The tyranny of tomatoes. We wait and wait for them, but when they arrive, they can be a little overwhelming. And then they disappear.

There's probably an interesting analogy to be drawn between fresh, local tomatoes and enthusiastic new church members. I don't think I'll draw it. Use your imagination.

I'm ever so grateful to receive all of these tomatoes. I truly, truly am. I can't drive yet, and there is no grocer in my neighborhood, so fresh food that comes to the door is a Godsend. I'm almost out of the leftovers of all the meals I cooked with my mom. Almost--there's still a slice of quiche left. I had to throw out the dregs of the meatloaf we cooked a week and a half ago.

I'm just not sure I can eat all of these beautiful tomatoes. I'm not sure I should eat them all, because I'm not good at eating just a tomato. I prefer to put tomato slices between two pieces of toasted wheat bread with mayo and bacon. Now that's a good summer sandwich. Healthy, too...all those fresh tomato slices...and, um, bacon and mayo.

The other thing that is delicious with tomato is fresh mozzarella. Give me enough tomatoes, and I can go through an 8 oz. ball of mozzarella in a couple of days. All you need is fresh basil (I keep a plant in the house at all times) and balsamic vinegar to make a nice little vinaigrette. Recipe for a nice little balsamic vinaigrette: drop a crushed clove of garlic in the vinegar, add some herbs, a dash of sugar, and salt and pepper. Let that sit for a half hour or so, fish out all the big chunks, and wisk in olive oil. Simple and delicious. Add a bit of dijon mustard if you like.

I do love tomato season. I just hope pretty soon it gets back to being running season, or it's going to be "buy bigger clothes season." I really must learn to eat a tomato all by itself.

With maybe a sprinkling of fresh parmegian cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Donna,

How lucky you are to be gifted by your neighbors and church members with fresh tomatoes! Do not feel pressured to eat them all before they go bad. I can tell that you have a way with food, so might I suggest that you cook up a pot of spaghetti sauce and freeze it. If you don't have a recipe handy - just google fresh tomatoe spaghetti sauce and I am sure something good will pop up. That way you can have your tomatoes today and tomorrow.
As for your new church members . . . for them you must be like an over protective gardener - constantly worrying over a possible frost, too much water, too little, and don't forget to add fertilizer. In the end tomatoes and people just want to belong!