Friday, June 13, 2008

Attack of the Killer Tomato

I say tomato ...
You say to-mah-to.

Is life imitating art?

A recent outbreak of food poisoning, particularly Salmonella Saintpaul, has had supermarkets and restaurants alike removing tomatoes from their shelves and menus.

As of June 12, there have been 228 reported cases in 23 states of people being sickened from the consumption of tomatoes. There have been 25 verified hospitalizations linked to the rare strain of salmonella which averages only 400 reported cases annually.

Consumers have been warned to avoid tomatoes except for the following varieties: cherry, grape, homegrown and those sold with the vine still attached.
Botanically, a tomato is the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant: therefore it is a fruit or, more precisely, a berry. However, the tomato is not as sweet as those foodstuffs usually called fruits and, from a culinary standpoint, it is typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, as are vegetables, rather than at dessert in the case of most fruits. The term "vegetable" has no botanical meaning and is purely a culinary term.
This argument has had legal implications in the United States. In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a duty on vegetables but not on fruits caused the tomato's status to become a matter of legal importance. The U.S. Supreme Court settled the controversy in 1893 by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use, that they are generally served with dinner and not dessert (Nix v. Hedden (149 U.S. 304)). The holding of the case applies only to the interpretation of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, and the court did not purport to reclassify the tomato for botanical or other purposes other than paying a tax under a tariff act.

The tomato has been designated the state vegetable of New Jersey. Arkansas took both sides by declaring the "South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato" to be both the state fruit and the state vegetable in the same law, citing both its culinary and botanical classifications. In 2006, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a law that would have declared the tomato to be the official state fruit, but the bill died when the Ohio Senate failed to act on it. Tomato juice has been the official beverage of Ohio since 1965. A.W. Livingston, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio played a large part in popularizing the tomato in the late 1800s.
Due to the scientific definition of a fruit, the tomato remains a fruit when not dealing with US tariffs. Nor is it the only culinary vegetable that is a botanical fruit: eggplants, cucumbers, and squashes of all kinds (such as zucchini and pumpkins) share the same ambiguity.
In the case of our President, George Walker Bush, either term, is applicable. He displays the attributes of a vegetable when it comes to common sense, and he is a fruit, as in the case of a fruitcake.

Interestingly enough, though not in common use today, tomato was once used as a complimentary term for an attractive female.

This lovely redhead would have been affectionately referred to as a hot tomato. It is a picture of my second wife ... (once I get rid of the first one) ...

That's a very bad joke! I am fortunate that my wife doesn't read my blog - I would most assuredly be ducking thrown objects - objects more harmful than tomatoes too! (Those who visit my site know that I have an affinity for red heads.)

Tom Arnold once referred to his ex-wife, Rosanne Barr as "his plump tomato." While I can agree with his "plump" assessment of her, I'm not buying the "tomato" reference.

In this picture, which some merciful blogger cropped, Rosanne was photographed modeling a sexy red lingerie set. She indeed looked like a plump tomato - a rotten one. Ah but sexy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. (I think my eyes behold better than those of Mr. Arnold.)

To illustrate that point further, you'll find a more revealing vision of her "plumpness" at my alternate site in a post titled
"You Were Warned".
Apparently someone (maybe Hillary because of this post.) found the site, "Suppository of the Soul," offensive and flagged it as such. I'm not surprised, for I use that site to post pictures and material that should not be read or viewed by anyone under the age of 17. If you visit there, you will now be greeted by a warning page giving you the option to open or not open the site.
Some people should not be seen in public wearing red, lest they be mistaken for a "Killer Tomato."

It's Friday the thirteenth! I guess it was your dumb luck to have stumbled upon my blog today!



74WIXYgrad said...

You should have a contest connected with the post and call it count the boobs.

Unfortunately Mrs74 won't let me go back and count.

Hale McKay said...

LOL Wixygrad. Wives never understand these things, do they?