Tomato Trauma

Anyone who knows me personally knows two things.  One – I am a drama queen.  Totally.  Factual.  Well documented.  Examples can be provided upon request.  The other is that I hate tomatoes. 

Hate is a strong word.  I often remind Daughter that she should never hate anything or anyone.  It is such a negative emotion but here I am shouting it from the rooftops.  I hate tomatoes.  I really, really hate them.

It all goes back to a childhood trauma from the early ‘70’s.  A trauma that was so horrific that both my brother and I have never allowed fresh tomato to cross our lips.  What was this trauma that caused such pain to these two children you wonder?  Are you ready?  *Deep breath*  My mother made my brother and I eat tomato sandwiches for lunch.  Yep.  That is it.  A plain old tomato sandwich. 

If one asked me to explain this trauma now, as an adult, I can say that the issue stems from the fact that a tomato sandwich in itself is boring.  Not just boring it also has the potential to be sloppy.  A tomato sandwich needs a moisture barrier to protect the bread so that it does not become a pink goopy mess.  A piece of ham.  A slice of cheese.  These two items form the protective barrier necessary to ensure that your sandwich is edible.  But as a kid it was just gross and we were not going to eat it!  Fed up our mother made us sit at the table until the sandwich, which was quickly disintegrating into a mess of goopy bread and warmer than hell-fire raw tomato, was consumed.  I remember one of us falling asleep on the sandwich that day.  Childhood trauma exposed. 

Nearly (or possibly more) than 40 years later I find myself living in a country where tomato is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And guess what?  I think I could be putting my childhood trauma behind me because I can tolerate tomato now.  In small doses.  Very small doses.  My current favourite is a Acile Ezme


Similar to a spicy salsa but the tomato is cut so small that it is practically pureed it is definitely a tomato dish that I can stomach.  My sister in law makes it in no time flat.  Basically biber paste, cumin and domates.  My sister in law adds sarimasak (garlic) and soğan (onion) as well.  It is magic in your mouth.  My other favourite is, of course, the well-loved tabouleh.  I am a pretty dab hand at making it now and I mask the tomato with a heap of parsley that again you can hardly taste it.  So there you have it Jane now eats tomato. 


My fear and absolute distaste of fresh tomatoes may be diminishing but I can assure you if I suddenly found myself in Bunol, Spain celebrating its Tomatina Festival it would be like living a nightmare.  A Freddy Kreuger, Elm Street infused nightmare! 


12 thoughts on “Tomato Trauma

  1. Funny. I’m just curious, what is biber paste? Or what does biber mean?
    I used to not like tomatoes, I didn’t hate them or anything, and there was no trauma, I just didn’t like them, then one day, about 4 years ago, my husband and I went to a restaurant and I was really starving, we ordered a quick salad so that I could get some food in my stomach and it had tomatoes. I was so hungry that the tomato tasted so good that day. Ever since, I love tomatoes.


    • Biber is better known as a pepper or capsicum. We have homemade biber paste – much better than buying it in the store!

      Tomatoes are a funny fruit aren’t they? But once they take hold of your taste buds they seem to hold you for ransom. Right now I cannot get enough and I expect it will only get worse until the point of addiction. Perhaps I will need to go to TA (Tomatoes Anonymous)


  2. Great post. I’m the same with broad beans. Can’t stomach the smell, let alone the taste. Tomatoes and onions are our most successful crops, and surprise, tomato pasta (uses both plus herbs) one of our favourite non-meat meals. I’ve always liked them, but agree about the sandwiches. Especially on a warm day. Urgh!


  3. I also have a dislike for raw tomato, and yet, last month I ate plate after plate of Acile Ezme in Istanbul. Delicious. I think my trauma stems from the very poor quality store-bought tomatoes that my mother bought at the grocery store when I was young.


  4. The food I hate is cantaloupe. Not because my mother made me eat it once when we were invited to dinner at someone else’s house. It’s because my not-quite-right taste buds are telling me I’m eating vomit. It’s one of the reasons I pass on fruit salad at restaurants. They either have cantaloupe or honeydew, which have similar tastes.

    When I was a kid, I used to eat only the egg whites, now I prefer the yoke. Sometimes your preferences change, but I doubt seriously that I’m ever going to acquire a taste for vomit.


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