Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tomatoes are Poisonous

Have you ever eaten a raw tomato? I bet you have.

All my life, many have preached the benefits of fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. I suppose the vitamin-packed fruit benefit the human body.

But you first have to eat them to receive their life-giving nutrients.

The fresh, acidic taste is enough to gag me. I have avoided fresh tomatoes since childhood.

I go to great lengths to pick them out of a sandwich or a salad. If I miss a piece, my palette alarm will shoot aversion signals straight to my brain. When company and manners allow, it'll hit my plate faster than a rotten tomato.

The most stressful park of childhood dinners was the plate of fresh tomatoes that graced our table from late spring until the crop gave out in the fall. Mom insisted that we try one serving of each dish on the table, including the tomatoes.

Each evening I did what I could to avoid making a scene at the table. But none of my schemes to avoid them worked.

The biggest joy of growing up was the freedom to avoid tomatoes. The Navy's boot camp meal-time policy, "Take all you want, but eat all you take," fit my anti-tomato lifestyle. You never found a fresh tomato on my six compartment stainless steel tray.

My mother has since accepted my tomato evasion tactics. When eating a my parent's table today, I quietly shove them aside. Mom usually mumbles something about her failure as a mother and scoops them up for her salad.

So, are tomatoes really poisonous? I doubt it.

I'll next explain how I've fit my aversion to tomatoes into a culinary career that'll soon hit the four-decade mark.

More to come ...

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