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Thursday
Sep112014

Leave That Tomato Alone! 

I couldn't find a picture of the offending food, this one is from the Gallery of Regrettable Food website http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/Thank goodness it’s grape harvest, otherwise the shortening days and the end to tomato season would have me in a funk.  As I ponder the end, at least for this year, of those big, fat, multihued heirlooms I am reminded of a particular tomato travesty I witnessed during a recent trip to the Midwest.

It was at Zingerman’s, a deli  based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its locally sourced food, benevolent work environment and a management consulting business touted by the likes of the New York Times. Yep, that’s right. “Business Visioning” and CEO seminars from a deli.

When I was there,  both Zingermans and I were having an off day.  They were super busy, service wasn’t great and I made myself a little sick because I had to try their artisanal brewed root beer.  Delicious, I’m glad I tried it, but hardly a way to start a meal. 

 I can’t remember what I ate but I’ll never forget what I saw. Next to me was a couple sharing a beautiful heirloom tomato desecrated with a gloppy mess of cheddar cheese spread and I don’t know what all.  

Why would anyone do that to a tomato?

It may be (sigh) that Midwesterners demand this kind of food; a delicate leaf of basil and fresh mozzarella would just not taste….tasty enough.  Midwestern winemakers must heave a similar sigh when local tastes demand sugary wine, with no chance of the delicate play of acid and sweet that makes wine drinking so glass-swirlingly fun.  

I love my midwestern roots and there’s is nothing I’d rather eat than a plate of kielbasa and buttered noodles. Sometimes I think, hey maybe we should just stick to that and leave the heirloom tomatoes to the Californians.