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We say 'To-MAY-to,' and saying it is as far as I go

We've just about reached the end of the season for home-grown tomatoes in these parts – to which Nancy Leson says yes. But to supermarket tomatoes Ms. Leson says "Blah." I say "blechh" to all tomatoes and will not willingly eat one.

Oh I'll gladly pound the ketchup bottle, pour on the tomato sauce and cheerfully ingest all kinds of things made from tomatoes but never the fruit itself. I think it's that mucous-y slime in the middle of a tomato slice that creeps me out the most. Anyway, to hear Nancy Leson and many other tomato-lovers tell it, I'm not missing out on much. At least so far as the produce aisle ones go.

But if you like tomatoes ...

To learn more about how mass-production tomatoes  got that way – and the often shocking conditions under which they are produced and harvested – read Barry Estabrook's expose Tomatoland. Nancy has more to say about it in her Seattle Times blog.

Depending on who you believe, tomatoes were brought to Europe by either Hernando Cortez or Christopher Columbus. It took a while for them to catch on, though. They weren't widely eaten in England until the middle of the 18th century.

The Pacific Northwest is probably not the best territory for growing your own tomatoes but if you've had success, don't keep it to yourself. Let us know how you did it. There are a lot of tomato lovers looking for an alternative to those bland supermarket tomato impersonators.

Time for green

Moving from tomatoes to the long green I hope that this fund drive week you see your way clear to pitching a little cabbage to KPLU. Do it for the laughs and occasional information you get from our Food for Thought outing, and of course for all the jazz, the blues, the Northwest and NPR news. 

No matter how you slice it, you must agree that's worth a few of your bucks. Thanks so much.

"The man who can't visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot."

– Andre Breton

Food for Thought” is a weekly KPLU feature covering the world of food as well as the thinking that goes into it. The feature is published here and airs on KPLU 88.5 every Wednesday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. 

Dick Stein has been with KNKX since January, 1992. His duties include hosting the morning jazz show and co-hosting and producing the Food for Thought feature with the Seattle Times’ Nancy Leson. He was writer and director of the three Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen. Previous occupations include the USAF, radio call-in show host, country, classical and top-40 DJ, chimney sweep, window washer and advertising copywriter.