when my dad was growing up he lived and worked on a farm in los angeles. he told us that he couldn’t “play with friends” because he and his siblings had to work on the farm when they weren’t in school. amongst the many crops his family grew, were acres of cherry tomatoes. the BURGENO & SONS farm was well-known and sought after for their flavorful cherry tomatoes. (see above photo for their packing label…circa 1940’s)
they say we inherit personality traits, physical resemblances and health issues (good and bad) from our parents and generations past. well, not only did i inherit the desire to farm (albeit on a very small scale in our frontyard triangular beds), but the absolute need to grow, pick, eat and create summer dishes using a variety of cherry tomatoes. some people crave sweets, others have shoe fetishes, but i am a self-admitted cherry tomato addict. i don’t choose to eat them because they are filled with lycopene and healthy phytonutrients, though this is a bonus, i choose to grow and eat them simply because my entire sensory being craves the sweet/tart pop of the freshly picked fruit.
my husband likes to tell the story of a time a few years back i confided that i thought i might need to stop ingesting acidic foods. tomatoes, being highly acidic would be banished from my diet. he likes to end the story by relaying to listeners that i started crying at the thought of not eating one of my all time favorite foods. he is not embellishing the story…i did cry, briefly. faced with this difficult decision — alkaline v. acidic stomach, the tomatoes won out! and, i am happy to report that my health seems perfectly fine.
there are SO many ways to use the colorful little orbs of sunshine in your kitchen. of course they are an excellent and lowfat snack, but can also be the focal point of a summer dish. as mentioned above there are also many health benefits derived from eating fresh and cooked tomatoes. one such benefit is skin protection and the reversing of wrinkles. well, heck, who wouldn’t want to do that?!
my adorable papa turns 85 years old on tuesday, 23rd july 2013…coincidentally he has no wrinkles, his hair is thick and full, his mind and body are agile. most importantly, though, he still enjoys his fruits and vegetables, amongst them the beloved cherry tomato.
happy birthday, papa… and thank you for sharing your life with me, rick, rob, margaret, your grandchildren, and mom (helen). you are an impressive role model of what it means to be kind, gentle, bright, charismatic, appreciative, hardworking and generous to your fellow humans.
with much love,
p.s. i just picked this bowl of cherry tomatoes from my frontyard and tonight i will halve them, toss with pieces of ripe nectarine and cubed fresh mozzarella, add slivers of fresh mint and drizzle with a spicy olive oil—seasonal, local, organic and wholesome, not to mention “colorful” and healthy. when we enjoy the dish, i will thank of my dad…