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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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I Hate Tomatoes...

I Hate Tomatoes

Is there any food that you absolutely cannot stand, cannot eat, hate, despise, or gag on? For me that is an easy question to answer. It's a tomato, especially a raw tomato. Cooked tomatoes go through enough of a metamorphous that they are difficult to recognize; therefore, I am less prejudiced if the fruit is disguised by blending with other food or spices -- lots of spices.

Tomato ketchup is not very tasty, but who eats a serving of ketchup? You dip your French fries and then can barely taste it. Similarly, tomato sauce on pizza, in a nice chili, or in a spicy barbeque sauce gets thumbs up. On the other hand, tomato soup has nothing to kill the tomato taste except maybe a cracker -- not enough in my book. Tomato juice? Don't make me sick. I know it has Vitamin C. I don't care; I will take a vitamin pill.

In the summer, everyone licks their lips over a platter of sliced tomatoes. I purse my lips and pass them over. At a restaurant, tomatoes are always served on your salad. I eat around them. Little cherry tomatoes are the easiest, chopped tomatoes the worse. Even the great American hamburger, is ruined with slices of juicy red stuff. I try to remember to say the magic words when I order, “No tomatoes.”

The jury is out on whether the tomato should be considered a fruit or a vegetable. Botanically, it is considered a berry, therefore a fruit. However, in the culinary world where it is incorporated into a large variety of dishes, it is treated as a vegetable. I suppose I dislike it as a fruit and like it as a vegetable – sort of.

When the tomato was first discovered, it was considered poisonous. Indeed, it is a member of the deadly nightshade family. The leaves are poisonous, but the fruit is not. Historically, they were used as an ornamental and grown in flower gardens instead of as an edible plant. Good idea! How can something that looks so good taste so bad?

Speaking of gardens, my family members who have not inherited my dislike of the obnoxious red fruit, like to grow tomato plants in the summer. They say that home-grown tomatoes have a much better flavor than the ones that are commercially grown. Tomatoes grow on a weak, sprawling vine and attract some god-awful insects, like the tomato hornworm. Tomatoes are prolific producers and usually the number of fruits far exceeds the ability of the back-yard farmer to consume or give away to neighbors.

Tomatoes require a long growing season; therefore, most commercial tomatoes in the U.S. are produced in Florida or California. The red globes are one of the top ten agricultural crops. Plants are perennial in their native habitat of South America; however, they cannot withstand the winters in less temperate climates and must be grown as annuals. Usually seeds are planted in greenhouses and young tomato plants are purchased and planted to help shorten the growing time.

The number of tomato products available in the super market is endless, from fresh tomatoes to canned tomatoes, even dried tomatoes. They are chopped, mashed, seasoned, made into sauce or paste, pureed, powdered and frozen. It seems impossible to avoid them. I really can't see any reason whatsoever to grow or cook them myself.

In the early nineteenth century rotten tomatoes were thrown at actors when the audience was displeased with a performance. If you think tomatoes are delicious, you probably feel very displeased with this column. Maybe I should get ready to duck and dodge -- just in case.


Copyright 2015 Sheila Moss

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