I’d already put the tomato in my basket when something made me look at the cash register. Holy Smoke! It was $7.00. Seven Dollars for one tomato!!! I’d been dreaming up what I would do with it as I walked around picking up other produce. It was the deep golden hue that first attracted me. I picked it up, felt its taut shiny skin, and I was sold. Too late, ‘That’ll be $25.00, thanks,” the assistant said with a smile before I could marshal my thoughts. Did she think I was stupid? Paying $7.00 for a tomato? I felt a bit giddy as I walked to the car, rationalising that a $7.00 tomato had to be my dinner, my main course. That way it wouldn’t be such an extravagance. It was weeks before my tomatoes would be ripe … And on and on I went with reasons justifying why it was a good buy.
Home. With one golden globe in front of me. It eyed me up. I felt nervous. Tomato: original colour deep yellow-orange. Poison suspect. Eaten by the poor. Pomme D’Amour. Apple of Love: Suspected aphrodisiac. Pomo D’Oro: Golden Apple. The heart of Italian cuisine.
To-mato or Tom-ato. The expensive bugger was sitting on my bench and called for some ceremony.
Oil, of course. A generous swig (and another one) of extra virgin olive oil. A freckle of flaky sea salt. A quick flick of the pepper mill. Baby basil leaves. Some slivers of juicy local garlic. Tiny oily black olives. A thin slice or two of white onion. A crown of rocket (arugula).
On the side, good sourdough, the bottle of oil and dish of flaky sea salt. Some feta-style cheese. A glass (or three) of rosé. Devour. Summer dinner for one.