Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Heirlooms are a Girl's Best Friend

Yesterday, while trolling the market shelves on the lookout for nothing in particular, I came across a most gorgeous and precious gem. The biggest, richest jewel-toned, and juiciest-feeling heirloom tomato I'd ever seen. It was lust at first sight. It's incredible how tomatoes have this enchanting effect on me. Perhaps it's the siren redness, or the aphrodisiac quality of something with so many varieties, all subtly different in flavor - a forbidden fruit that was once assumed dangerously toxic upon its introduction to European cultures.

I know that I have not always succumbed to the tomato's suggestive invitations. I distinctly remember being 16 years old, on a youth pilgrimage to the Middle East, and finding it so strange that tomatoes were an elemental, central part of breakfast each day. I remember thinking, "What? No Cherrios? Donuts? Muffins?" I'll never forget those breakfasts, but I wish I had the foresight to keep a better journal of my trip. I always hated journaling, and my parents made me do it while I traveled. I wrote three entries, and not once did I recall the food.

We went to Bethlehem today. It was pretty cool. We practically had to crawl through the door of the Church of the Nativity. Some guy wanted to buy me and another girl for 81 camels. Weird. Camels?? Oh well. I miss my friends.

Back to the heirloom. I wonder if I'm worth 81 heirlooms? Certainly not if they are like the one I found. It was the size of a softball, and its weight in my basket caused me to 'switch arms' several times. Heirloom tomatoes are expensive, but they represent (in my mind, at least) how a tomato should really taste. And you can't put a price on that.

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