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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 11, 2014 / 13 Sivan, 5774

Remember the real tomato?

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | Homegrown tomatoes,

homegrown tomatoes,

What'd life be without

homegrown tomatoes?

Only two things that money

can't buy,

That's true love and

homegrown tomatoes . . .

--Guy Clark

Oh Boy, it's that time again!

The annual Pink Tomato Festival at Warren, Arkansas this week remains one of those select celebrations that have something worth celebrating. And never has the tomato--the real thing, not the waxen fruit you can buy at any supermarket--needed celebrating more. And saving.

Because these days the genuine tomato -- Accept No Substitutes! -- is being driven out of the mass market by its archrival, a chemically implanted or genetically engineered simulacrum marketed under the good name of tomato. Nowadays the uninjected, unrouged tomato stands out like a good girl in a high-necked dress at a high school dance; only the discerning may appreciate her.

The Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival here in Arkansas is still going great guns; this is its 58th year, but the Pink Tomato itself is becoming a rarity. Because there are two kinds of tomatoes: the eatin' kind like the Bradley County Pink, and the sellin' kind like all the others. Since the 1950s, the uncertainties of growing vine-ripened pinks -- it takes patience and faith -- have led to their steady replacement by all those inferior others at your neighborhood grocery.

Modern science can tell you every ingredient in the perfect tomato; they just can't make one in their laboratories, or even in Mexico, Florida or California. Providence has reserved that miracle for Bradley County, Arkansas, and environs.

There are always those who won't learn, or who haven't had the chance to. They think those things at the grocery store -- the bright red softballs -- are tomatoes. No wonder they aren't thrilled by tomatoes. These children of a modern age have grown up on instant everything, and think patience is the name of a quaint old card game. They never sat on a back porch under an old revolving fan while, one after another, the perfectly prepared products of a family garden were set down with a solid plunk on a wooden table -- string beans, black-eyed peas, summer squash, okra, butter beans, chilled green onion and yes, rich, red, juicy, real tomatoes. With fresh cornbread, of course. And buttermilk.

Today the American consumer is fed neo-tomatoes wrapped in cellophane and tasting about the same. You know the kind. To quote that great American eater, Calvin Trillin: Throwing such a missile "risks being arrested for assault with intent to kill." To confuse such a projectile with food is a fit punishment for impatience. Only the substitute's color -- the only quality modern science has been able to induce artificially -- is the same. The rest is ersatz. And the ingredient most lacking is time.

Time is the essence of the tomato -- as it is of many other things. Those who think industrial science can duplicate such an environment by harvesting tomatoes in the tens of thousands by some arbitrary date on the calendar, and running the poor things through 50-foot long chambers full of ethylene gas, then soaking them in brine through which sulfur dioxide has bubbled for days in order to keep them fresh ... well, there are no words to express the depth of their misapprehension.



These faux tomatoes aren't grown so much as processed. No true Arkie would ever sell a tomato before its time. Or, for that matter, use a dull knife, or -- horrors! -- put a tomato in a refrigerator to ripen, instead of setting it down ever so gently on the kitchen windowsill.

The latest quasi-tomato is the genetically altered kind. The new bio-neo-tomato eliminates all the Problem Areas in tomato marketing. Also the taste and scent of the real thing. This latest simulacrum of the real tomato is said to be imperishable -- like plastic. It's reported that chefs in New York City are wild about it, which confirms one's suspicions of New York City.

There may be other varieties that get good press, but there's no tomato so distinctive, so local and so awaited during the long, drab winter as -- ta-da! -- the Bradley County Pink. You can almost hear the fanfare when the first lug is opened. You know they'll be as succulent as they are ugly. For the worse these tomatoes look, the better they taste. That's the rule of (green) thumb with Bradley County Pinks.

As with books, you can't tell a tomato by its cover. When it comes to tomatoes, or humans for that matter, appearances can be deceiving.

In another example of Gresham's Law, which holds that bad currency drives out good, the best of tomatoes now has been reduced to a rarity found only in the boonies, like bootleg hootch. It says something about how poor in taste this rich country has become that the Bradley County Pink should be almost a secret outside of Arkansas, although tomato aficionados elsewhere may have heard tell of it.

I trust I'm not revealing any state secret when I tell you that a diet of Arkansas tomatoes explains the beauty of our women, the virility of our men, and the wondrous appeal of our children.

All those qualities are brought out, like the first blush of the tomato, only in the fullness of time. Time is the essence of tomatoes as it is of other good things. Like writing and love.

In these latitudes, the season is just beginning. And no amount of prose in praise of the tomato can compare to that first bite of the season. It's like the first sip of beer and taste of ballpark hot dog early in the season at a minor league ballpark. Local means flavorful.

For an early taste of the season, please consider this simplest, purest initiation into an Arkansas summer: Take one Bradley County Pink and note the vivid color, the simple heft, the way it was made for the human hand. Appreciate the ripeness achieved over the past few days on your kitchen windowsill. Don't forget to enjoy the aroma -- with eyes closed. Breathe deeply. Then slice evenly, noting the texture. Be careful of the juice. No, don't taste yet. Barely sprinkle the tomato with coarse salt, then make a tomato sandwich using two slices of brown bread and just maybe a little unsalted butter, nothing more.

Then you'll know it's time.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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