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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A Little Salt: Coming to appreciate the tomato

  • Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley finds it hard to say "no" to another bag of tomatoes.
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  • Have any good recipes you are willing to share that utilize a tomato?
    In recent weeks, my wife, Nancy, has frequently been asking me how I’d like a tomato incorporated into our next meal.
    I’ve had them just sliced. We’ve had them cut up on a salad. Nancy has placed them on hamburgers. They have nicely accompanied an egg, piece of bacon and slice of lettuce on a sandwich. Nancy has used them in a taco salad she served up this past week. And despite recent temperatures in the 90s, my bride has frequently of late been fixing a cold-weather dish of chili that has been double dosed with home-grown tomatoes.
    To date, I haven’t seen my busy bride breaking out the big pans that she uses when making fresh tomato juice. Neither have sliced pieces of tomato appeared on a homemade pizza, but that day may be coming.
    To be honest, I’ve been trying to get breakfast out of the way before my bride makes it into the kitchen in the morning. I’m concerned I might be encouraged to try putting tomatoes on my Raisin Bran. And while I enjoy tomatoes, I might have to draw the line there.
    Most of the tomatoes we’ve been enjoying are from the plants that Nancy planted on the south side of our house this spring. And with the exception of a few that were wasted by passersby, who were more intent on using the “fruit” to make a mess than a salad, most have found their way into the Henley homestead.
    Some of the tomatoes are about the size of your thumb, while others are similar in size to one’s fist.
    But the tomatoes we’ve been eating have not just been coming from our plants. One day recently, as I picked up Nancy from work, I couldn’t help but notice she was carrying a bag of tomatoes.
    “More tomatoes?” I asked.
    “They were free and I just couldn’t pass them up,” she said with a smile.
    Just a few days later came a knock at our front door one morning. A generous neighbor was there with a smile and bag of tomatoes.
    “Like some tomatoes?” she asked with a smile. “We have more than we can use.”
    “Sur-r-r-r-e,” I replied, wondering where on the kitchen counter we’d find room for this latest addition to our tomato collection.
    While Nancy and I like tomatoes, our 17-year-old daughter, Anna, is not a fan of them unless they are in a paste form that is lathered onto a pizza crust.
    Page 2 of 2 - Anna couldn’t understand why her mother keeps accepting more and more tomatoes even though we are still harvesting them from our own garden.
    Nancy ran through more reasons than I’m sure Anna wanted to hear or expected to be given when she offered her “two cents” on the matter. Nancy wrapped up her laundry list of reasons with an important one that I’m sure Anna hadn’t thought of: They’re free food.
    Like many families across the nation, our budget is tight. Consequently something like a tomato, which can be utilized to supplement a meal in so many different ways, is hard to say “no” to when a bag of the bright red vegetable is offered.
    Nancy and I both agreed that some day, when Anna is responsible for putting food on her own table, she might come to have a deeper appreciation for the generosity of others in general, and specifically the tasty tomato.
    In the meantime, Nancy and I will continue to accept and enjoy all the garden-fresh tomatoes that come our way.

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