Perspective: Our Glorious Midwestern Tomato

Sep 15, 2020

Almost every day in August and September, I eat a tomato sandwich featuring a fresh tomato from the garden.

I was telling my friend Scott from San Jose about this the other day before he told me to stop. Scott is my only friend left who still likes to talk on the phone. I was telling him how I liked the tomato sliced thin, and for bread I like this whole grain loaf that’s been around forever, what we used to call bark bread when I was a kid before I knew what was good.

You toast the bark bread, I was saying to Scott, which brings out this nutty flavor, and then you spread on a little mayo, and then you stack the juicy red tomato slices...but before I could get to the part about the salt and pepper, he said, Stop. Just please Stop.

Scott is originally from northern Indiana, from near a little town I know called Whiting, and he knows about fresh tomatoes. He’s been in California for like 40 years, yet he still remembers. San Jose has its own delights. I used to live there and I remember the things you could get that you can’t get here. Like persimmons. And artichokes. If you said California had the best produce in the world, I wouldn’t argue with you.

But they don’t have tomatoes. Not like the ones we have here, which for a couple of months each year are the best tomatoes on the planet. If you don’t believe me, ask Scott. He knows what he left behind when he left the Midwest all those years ago. He can still taste it.

I’m Chris Fink and that’s my Perspective.