Another victim of the season's tomato infestation

September 07, 2006|By KEVIN COWHERD | KEVIN COWHERD,Sun Columnist

I suppose there's someone reading this who hates tomatoes more than I do, but that doesn't seem possible right now, given the circumstances.

Oh, sure, I used to be like most of you out there.

That is, I used to love tomatoes.

Then my wife started growing them in our garden.

She grew Roma tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes and some other kind of tomatoes, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

Anyway, what difference does it make?

The point is, pretty soon we were up to our ears in tomatoes.

Now you come into our kitchen and there are bowls and bowls of tomatoes everywhere you look.

There are plates of sliced tomatoes in the refrigerator. There are baskets of tomatoes on the back deck.

The place looks like some kind of tomato clearinghouse, or a place you'd go to swap tomatoes, if there were such a thing.

One thing that happens when you grow so many tomatoes is, you become tomato-centric in your eating habits.

You're always looking for new and inventive ways to use the stupid things, so they don't go to waste.

So in the past couple of weeks, we've had stewed tomatoes, tomatoes in a vinaigrette dressing, tomato sauce for spaghetti, tomatoes on every conceivable sandwich, tomatoes with eggs, sliced tomatoes with pepper and salt, and so on.

After a while, you think: OK, enough with the tomatoes.

No, it actually gets worse than that.

It actually gets to the point where you want to scream: Please, would it be possible to have maybe just one meal that doesn't involve tomatoes?!

Huh?! Because if I have to eat one more @#$%&* tomato, I swear I'm going to . . .

OK, sorry.

Started to lose it a little bit there.

But, see, that's what happens when it's just tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes everywhere you look.

You don't just get sick of them.

You start to hate them.

It's a deep, visceral hatred, too, and it infects every member of the household -- and when I say every member, I mean every member.

See, that's the dirty little secret about tomatoes: Even the people who grow them start to hate them after a while.

For instance, I can see that my wife is sick to death of all these tomatoes.

She won't admit it, but I know it's true. It's written all over her face.

She used to come in from the back yard with a bunch of tomatoes, and she'd be smiling and happy, and she'd hold a few up for inspection and gush: "Will you look at these beautiful tomatoes? Oh, these are going to be great!"

Now she comes in and dumps them on the kitchen counter and mutters: "More tomatoes ..." before heading back outside.

Look, I don't blame her.

By the time you've picked your 60th or 70th tomato, it's kind of hard to get all worked up about them anymore.

Eventually, of course, people who grow tomatoes will have far more than they can ever use, at which time they'll attempt to give the extras away.

Hah! Good luck, pal.

The sad fact is, nobody wants your surplus tomatoes.

In fact, it's been my experience that people will actually run away from you if you approach them with a basket of tomatoes.

That's because there are so many people growing tomatoes these days and trying to foist them on others that the nontomato-growing public has grown weary of these shenanigans.

When even their family members and friends start to avoid them, some tomato-growers become so desperate to get rid of their tomatoes that they even bring them in to work.

They leave them in little baskets atop the steel-gray filing cabinets, with little signs that say: "Help yourself!"

This might well be one of the most pathetic sights you'll ever see.

Well, you know the rest of the story.

No one ever helps themselves to these tomatoes, of course.

Instead, they sit there for days on their lonely perch, until they start to turn rotten and someone finally throws them out.

Which is a shame, but that's the way it goes with these things.

Maybe next year we'll try growing zucchini.

Although that seems like it could be pretty annoying, too.

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