Saturday, February 23, 2008

Embarrassment de Riches

I love tomatoes. A big, juicy tomato, its bursting skin still warm from the rays of the sun, is my idea of good eats. I have written before about our inability to grow decent slicing tomatoes. No matter, I have resigned myself to a lifetime of cherry and grape tomatoes and we get through plenty of them.

In any event, homegrown tomatoes are only readily available in Michigan in August and September. Then I buy tomatoes for salads at the grocery store or at farmers’ markets, and as the winter gets more oppressive and comfort food beckons, I turn to recipes calling for cans of tomatoes to supply color and, so they tell me, lycopene. What could be easier than adding a few cans of tomatoes to my shopping list?

What indeed! For years recipes for soups or stews stipulated, “Add a can of whole tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon.” It seemed an exercise in futility, so I was happy when the manufacturers introduced diced tomatoes. But look what Messrs. Hunt, Kroger, Dei Fratelli, Red Gold and Del Monte have come up with now. We can buy our tomatoes stewed, peeled, whole, crushed, diced (even petite diced) or chopped. We can buy organic versions of all of the above. There are subsets of the main varieties: steam peeled, chopped Mexican and chopped Italian. Our choices are not limited to cut. We have to decide whether we want our tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, no salt added, chili ready, fire roasted, all natural (as opposed to . . . ?), zesty chili style, with jalapeno peppers or with garlic and onion.

I have headache writing about it. I must go and get dinner, which tonight will feature pork chops and applesauce. That’s chunky applesauce, as opposed to organic, unsweetened, home-style, natural, cinnamon flavored . . .

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

The mind boggles! You could stand for hours just deciding! Tell you what, I'll send over a couple of English fat, juicy tomatoes!