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!