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! 


The First Date (that wasn’t a date)

When we started packing up all of our belongings for our move to Turkey it became quite clear that The Turk is a bit of a hoarder.  The most unnecessary crap was placed in boxes and sent by cargo to Turkey with the idea that it would be useful to us when we arrived.

Fast forward six months and The Turk who is hasta (sick) at the moment has become a general pain in my arse because he is sitting at home and “helping”.  On a good day The Turk cannot sit still.  He always needs to be active and doing things.  This is not a bad thing and over the years I have trained him to “do” the washing or “do” the cleaning but when he is hasta he can be a right royal pain in my arse.  This morning he decided that he was tired of the boxes (that are hidden from the naked eye under the bed) and they had to be cleared away immediately.  Now!  Right now!


One of the boxes contained a heap of old photos.  Most of these were of my travels but one photo that he pulled out was in a dented old frame.  The glass was missing and the photo itself was damaged and, for some inexplicable reason, has been cut up and pasted back together.  So why is this photo important?  It is, in fact, the very first photo of The Turk (introduced to me as Al Pacino – his moniker) and I together along with his friends “Antonio Banderas” and “Maradona” as well as my girlfriend Ris.

This photo was taken back in September 2000 at Artemis Hotel in Bodrum.  It our first night out – not a date (well I knew it was not a date but perhaps he did not).  It was not a successful night.  In fact it was ghastly with The Turk becoming jealous of another man’s attentions towards me and Ris and I deciding that we were going to escape then and there.  I remember us running through the streets back to our hotel fearful that this strange Turk was going to follow us.  We never went back to visit The Turk after that less than stellar evening and left Turkey happy with the knowledge that I would never have to see “Al Pacino” again.

I returned to Australia and Ris returned to London but whenever we spoke we would laugh about that night.  Nine months later I returned to Bodrum with a group of friends to spend a month with Ris.  On our first night we hit the bars on the Bodrum beachfront ready for a huge night however jet lag got the better of me and, after a few cocktails, I decided to make my way back to the hotel to sleep it off.  I was tottering down the street when suddenly The Turk was standing in front of me.  Yikes!

“Hey I remember you,” I blabbed.  “It’s Al Pacino.”

“Yes I remember you too Janey.  You left me stranded on the street with a broken heart,” came his reply.  Whatever!

The rest, my friends, is history.

Picking up the photograph The Turk walked into the bedroom and placed it on his bedside table.  “I can now remember this night forever”.