Yesterday I partook (that spelling looks weird) of a regular summer tradition for me. I ate my first garden grown tomato of the season. It's sorta strange, really....when I was kid, we spent every summer up here in Mississippi at my grandparents' farm. Mana and Granddaddy Pete had a several large gardens and tomatoes were a staple at dinner every night. I don't remember actually enjoying them at the time. I may have eaten some, but when I was at Mana's house, I was more concerned about when she'd let me drink coffee again. Didn't everyone do something like that? Grandparents are great for corrupting you early. But I digress......
I'm not sure when I started REALLY enjoying tomatoes, but it's something I really look forward each year. A couple of years ago, we started our own little garden and had lots and lots of tomatoes. I didn't realize how much work a garden was, because when I was kid at Mana's house, all the garden work I had to do was to shell peas. Since the summer of farmer Tassie, we've been in grad school each summer...hence, no tomatoes. So sad.
My father-in-law came to visit yesterday to help David build his hay barn, and he brought several tomatoes from David's Aunt Bea's house. I had one at lunch. There is a specfic way I eat them.....let me 'splain.
First, I choose the tomato that is the ripest. After washing it and removing the stem, I slice it. (I don't peel it....most of the fiber in fruits and vegetables is in the skin) Then I sprinkle each slice with salt and pepper. Then........the most important ingredient......mayonnaise. I put a healthy blob of mayo on each slice and then chow down on them. It's sorta like eating a tomato sandwich (which I enjoy) without the bread. There is more to the story, of course.....
If you know me or have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I suffer from acid reflux....and suffer badly. A year or two ago, the doctor told me what not to eat....chocolate, spicy foods, rich foods, anything acidic, and anything with caffeine (no coffee!!!) I've tried real hard to follow those rules, but during the school year I'm pretty much comatose in the morning, so I drink a little contraband coffee to get me going. In the summer, I can sleep for as long as I want, so I don't need the coffee (and it's really too hot) so I indulge in another decadent and forbidden treat...tomatoes.
Last summer, my father-in-law brought me tomatoes but I ate lots of them (several with each meal) so I'd run out before he came back. Well.....just down the highway from my house is Greg's Produce Barn. It's basically a farmer's market and he's open several days a week. He sells many fruits and veggies, and also sells tomatoes from his own garden. I ended up visiting Greg's Produce Barn a couple times a week and enjoying the fruits of his labor. I think I O.D.'d on the tomatoes, because the acid got so bad that I eventually lost my voice and developed a persistent cough. (BTW, both of these are symptoms of acid reflux.)
So summer is here and it is prime tomato season. I'm trying to limit myself to just one tomato a day and hopefully not suffer near as much as I did last summer. So far, I'm doing well. I had one yesterday and haven't had one today....yet. I think I'm going to have it with lunch and then head off to the evil Wal-Mart for my weekly grocery shopping treat. Wish me luck....and know that I won't be buying any tomatoes at Wal-Mart....they aren't fresh from the garden and therefore aren't a temptation.