Would you eat the cherry tomato?
Here is a deep question about values, spontaneity, risk, adventure, the best things in life, and your appetite for them.
It begins with my mom’s garden years ago when she lived in Nebraska.
Now I’m not that big on tomatoes, like some people are, and less so then than now. But when I tasted the cherry tomatoes from that garden they tasted like sunshine. I couldn’t believe how much flavor they had — sweet, tangy, juicy… everything you could hope for in a piece of fruit. And with all the vines there, you could pop cherry tomatoes in your mouth all day. There were more on the vie and overnight yet more would appear.
Plus she hadÂ — I should mention it was my stepfather’s garden too — so plus they had a half-dozen varieties of basil. I would pick a basil leaf, wrap it around a cherry tomato (still on the vine — I didn’t want it to lose flavor in the seconds of moving it from the vine to my mouth), and put the combination in my mouth. I’d think to myself, “In New York City as an appetizer, that would cost $5. Here the ingredients litter the ground. And they’re growing as fast as I could eat them.” Then I’d eat ten more.
The disappointing surprise
After I returned home I found myself at a salad bar with cherry tomatoes. I thought “Awesome! I can’t wait to eat those things.”
Biting into it turned my gleeful anticipation to horror and disgust. It tasted like a cotton ball! It had no flavor. Yuck!
As we all know, something about our market and marketing system has bred flavorless tomatoes. After years of enjoying cherry tomatoes I didn’t know were nearly tasteless, the fresh garden cherry tomatoes from my mom and stepfather’s garden revealed the horror of what we’ve produced for ourselves.
It took six months before my taste buds forgot the awesomeness of the garden cherry tomatoes and I could enjoy — if you could call it enjoying anymore — any cherry tomato I could find in a store or restaurant. Not even the farmer’s market ones measured up.
I’d been spoiled for cherry tomatoes. I used to like the ones around here a lot. Now I don’t because I know something better.
So here’s the question:
Imagine you like cherry tomatoes a lot. Now someone comes to you with a cherry tomato so much better than any cherry tomato you’ve ever eaten that none others compare. But you only get a limited number and after that you won’t enjoy the cherry tomatoes around you anymore. You’ll lose your enjoyment of cherry tomatoes.
Do you eat the cherry tomato?
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