Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Perfect Tomatoes

I've been waiting for a summer like this. Last year was a dissappointment. I nurtured 12 tomoato plants only to find them all slowly pass away, victims of a weird leaf eating blight that spotted and then grayed and then withered every single plant. Every. Single. Plant. I had big plans for those plants: I pine for homemade sauce made with the herbs and garlic from the same small patch of earth. I planned to sundry the funkier looking tomatoes and store them for the winter.

I had heirlooms: brandywines - oh! Have you ever seen a brandywine? It is pinkish instead of red; the outside is bulbous, with odd looking growths. It is huge. When you cut it open, there is no logic to its interior, no symmetry. The flavor of that thing - it's rich and sweet. The tartness and acid of a traditional tomato are downplayed, and you are left with a soft kiss of flavor in your mouth. A tomato is a rare love.

And the miracle of this year is that right in the middle of the garden, a volunteer emerged. The sweetest tomato I've ever eaten decided to come up in among the cucumber vines. That's right, my brandy wine. And instead of shrivelling this year all of my tomatoes have decided to rock the house.  All kinds of tomatoes: sungolds, roma, early girl. I love tomatoes when the come ripe out the garden, their skin still warm from the sun. I had a fabulous burger tonight with slices from a surreal perfectly round, perfectly red tomato under a sheaf of arugula, and I am happy. This is a good year - you can tell by the tomatoes.

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