Saturday, April 08, 2017

Tomatoes

Where did the American pronunciation tomayto come from? Old English? You say tomayto and I'll say tomato.

Tomatoes are a fruit, and as such, I have been taking about five cherry tomatoes to work each day for a couple of months as a snack, now that plums are just out of season. We buy them from the el cheapo Asian fruit and veg shop in Prahran and we go through two punnets a week, but they are very small tomatoes. I am careful when I select them. I turn the punnet around and around to ascertain that none are at rotting stage. You have to do this when you buy fruit and vegetables that supermarkets and sorters have rejected.

It was my idea last week to go to South Melbourne to do the weekly shopping before I went to work last Sunday. We had a fantastic brunch, a breakfast bruschetta full of egg and chorizo at a Spanish place that has won the best paella award outside of Spain. We were there before paella cooking was underway, with the hotplates focused on baked eggs in a tomato sauce.

So we shopped in Woolworths in South Melbourne. It was ok, a nice big supermarket, but we prefer our Prahran one, we have decided.

We bought two punnets of cherry tomatoes. I took five of them to work on Sunday and et them. Monday, I took another five and realised that Sunday was not an aberration and that they were terrible. They were quite big for cherry tomatoes and had skins so thick and tough, with very little tomato taste. They were a disgrace.

It is not often I stand up about things, but I have about tomatoes. If I am present when R shops, he dares not to buy tomatoes. I select the tomatoes and I have never found that a supermarket ever sells good tomatoes. For all R's cooking skills, I am much better at fresh vegetable and fruit shopping. I sniff, look and squeeze.

Boringly repetitive but Adelaide has better fruit and vegetables than us, yet at times our tomatoes come from South Australia??? But nowhere in Australia is even in the running compared to the quality of fruit, vegetables and berries in Europe, yes seasonal, but isn't that how it should be?

Merging two blog post thoughts, Lee recently mentioned that she had no desire and never has to travel overseas. I don't think Margaret has either. Maybe most of you Australians are the same. Pushed by R, we now do big holidays overseas. While I want to save money for my old age, R is determined to spend his money so there is no money left for anyone to inherit. I hope his timing is good, and mine too, really.

I suppose I am an experienced overseas traveller. Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan. Then Hungary, France, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Germany. Canada and the US. New Zealand.

I have learnt little about the world though by travelling (which probably contradicts something else I have written) I have learnt that the best coffee and fish and chips are in Melbourne, my home town. Forget English fish and chips. We do fish and chips better and our coffee is great, and cheap at $3.50 per serve.

You can get the best ever strudel in Vienna. Do ask for the vanilla sauce to top it. Sorry, how many euros did that cost? Who cares. We are on holidays. I think it was Nuremberg where our travelling companion found the best and sweetest tomatoes I  have ever tasted. We had a delicious mix of nuts in Cologne.

I think you can find really good and fresh produce in Australia if you are prepared to pay a bob or two but they are not available at your local Coles or Woolworths.

Speaking of which, the oldest supermarket worker in the world has turned 85. Brenda at Coles in Malvern has turned 85. River, you could have done another 25 years as a checkout chick and receive national media attention.  I have observed that Brenda rather likes to go in the afternoon to the the casino to play the pokies. Her money, why not.

Summary, I have seen and experienced some truly wonderful things when I  have travelled, but I don't think I am any better educated or smarter for having travelled. Ah, aside from the fact that we get crap fruit and vegetables. Even New York's are better.

What I have learnt about the world from blogs is immeasurable.

29 comments:

  1. I don't think I could go shopping with you. All that checking, examining and pondering of food purchases would leave me agitated. I'd have to take a seat in a nearby cafe whilst you engaged in your forensic purchases.

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    1. Victor, R takes forever grocery shopping. I don't, but I take forever to choose fruit and vegetables.

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  2. When it comes to tomatoes, homegrown are always best. And cherry tomatoes are super easy to grow. You should plant a bush or two!

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    1. Jennifer, we did, but the conditions on our balcony are very harsh and while we got a few tomatoes, it was not a great success.

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  3. I agree with you about 1000 per cent (conservatively speaking) about the education I receive in the blogosphere.
    You are right about Coles and Woolies fruit and veg too. Picked green for ease of transportation. And they often rot as they ripen. Berries are particular culprits here. I turn the punnets v carefully. I like the Farmers' Markets when I can get to them. The produce doesn't look perfect, but it has taste.

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    1. EC, if I did not work, often at weekends, I expect we would buy from farmer's markets, although our local inner suburban markets tend to be expensive. Nephew's Mother in Law to be grows apples in an orchard and she adds $2 per kilo if she is selling them at a trendy inner suburban farmer's market.

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    2. For tasty apples I would happily pay the extra $2 per kilo.

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  4. Tomayto can't be really old English. Tomatoes came to Europe from the Americas, as did potatoes.

    Seems likely they rhymed in the original Aztec, so one of the standard pronunciations in Oz is a shift over time.

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    1. Marcellous, that makes sense. How awful would life be without tomatoes.

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  5. The only overseas travel I've done, Andrew was to Singapore, Port Moresby, Christchurch, Tasmania, Hinchinbrook Island and Newry Island (all work/business related)! :)

    And to Fraser Island a few times...purely for pleasure, but I rarely took pleasure out of my visits to Fraser, because I never liked the island much, even though we never roughed it. My then husband's aunty lived at Happy Valley on the island and we visited her regularly when we lived in Sunshine Beach, around the corner from Noosa Heads.

    Travel has never been my "thing". We all have our "things"...and travel wasn't/isn't one of mine. It may sound weird to others, but that's okay. I can cop that! :)

    I've always said if I was going to "travel" I would want to stay in whatever country/countries I visited for a length of time...a year or so...so I would be able to get to know and understand the people of said country, rather than just brief holiday visits.

    There is nothing quite like home-grown tomatoes fresh off the plant/bush....how sweet and juicy they are!

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    1. Ah, so you have travelled a bit, Lee. My mother has only flown once, to the north of Victoria and back and had to have oxygen. She has just been across the Victorian border into NSW but that is as far as she has been. Tradie Brother did go to Tasmania once on the ferry, but otherwise he has never left the mainland and has never flown, and he is over 50. I like your idea of setting up for a time, but oh so expensive to live in Vienna. While our tomatoes were a great success, what we did harvest were delicious.

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  6. Crikey Andrew ....... doesn't Melbourne have growers markets?? When at home we always go to the growers markets. All local produce and usually picked just the day before. Best little tomatoes in the world. Even when in Sydney we go to growers markets. Mum says the stuff you buy in Coles or Woolies is old before you get it and kept in cold storage and doesn't last. Go to the growers markets. They're fun and only ever buy what is in season. As someone else said though you can always grown your own little toms. If old brown fingered Mum can grown them anyone can.

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    1. Yes Charlie. See comment above to EC. I totally agree about Coles and Woolies, rubbish mostly. See comment to Jennifer about growing our own.

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  7. Thursday one of our local stores had quite pit of produce on sale. They had a container of herilooms tomatoes and I bought one. Orange was at fifty eight cent a pound.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Dora, that sounds very cheap for oranges. We do at times have oranges here from California.

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  8. I feel that tomatoes, in general, have become tastier again with a greater focus on heirloom varieties nowadays. I remember a time when tomatoes were huge in size but vapid in taste.

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    1. Ad Rad, they don't seem to be appearing in the supermarket though. Vapid well describes what the cherry tomatoes from the supermarket tasted like.

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  9. Another 25 years on the checkout would see me wrapped in a straitjacket and rocking in the corner of a padded room. It isn't a job I ever wanted to do and although I did get very good at it, the mental and physical stress go too much for me.
    Tomatoes? I never buy them at Woolies anymore. I go across the main road and buy them at Foodland. They have so much more local SA produce there and the best Free Range eggs from farms that have 1500 hens per hectare, where the Coles and Woolies free range eggs come from farms with 10,000 hens per hectare. even at Foodland I rarely buy cherry tomatoes, they are picked too soon and still green inside when eaten with either no taste or a slightly bitter flavour. If you want small tomatoes, try the mini or baby Romas.
    I remember when living in Port Pirie, if you wanted the best fish and chips you always went to the Greek owned fish'n'chip shops.

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    1. River, I don't think she works many hours per week. I think she finishes work at 10am and maybe starts at 6 and perhaps only for a few days a week. Yes, supermarket eggs generally come from those high stocking rates farms, which really aren't what the public has in mind when they think free range. Now, the best fish a chips would come from a Vietnamese owned fish a chip shop.

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    2. That was me in the last few years, from 6am to 10am, fun at first, but it all went downhill when the best 2IC left, she was the buffer that kept the supervisor in check.
      I almost never buy fish and chips anymore, they're just not as nice since all cooking fats were swapped for "healthy" vegetable oils. Even then, they weren't too bad, but then came Canola oil and chips that were processed off site, frozen and sent in huge bags to the outlets. The days of fresh cut potatoes were gone forever.

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    3. River, I agree about fish and chips. We can get good ones at times, but generally, they aren't as good as I remember. To my surprise, English fish and chips were very disappointing.

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  10. Since 1970, I have spent every winter holiday (mid June till mid July) overseas. There are only 193 countries in the world, and I wanted to visit all of them - eventually. Even if war zones are excluded (Syria, North Korea, Iraq, Sudan etc), there are still quite a few countries to cover before the Sunset Aged Care Home beckons. Next trip, if spouse agrees, will be Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

    To cut costs, I prefer visiting cities in which relatives live, to eliminate the need for B & Bs. And collecting slides, books, lecture notes etc from overseas gives a legitimate tax deduction.

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    1. Hels, staying with friends and rels would certainly cut costs. Morocco has always interested me, but not really the other two.

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  11. I do love fresh produce and yes, its best if bought in the season it flourishes, rather than shipped in from countries far away. I await the berry season here. First it strawberries and I get them from a farm a few miles from here. I hate the California berries, they have no taste at all. I also grow strawberries out front. Then come blueberries and raspberries, all grown within a few miles. And last but not least, my favorite of all, and free everywhere in Oregon---blackberries. Oh I can't wait. As for cherry tomatoes, I grow them out front too. I have my favorite varieties. They seem tasteless if I buy them at the supermarket, but in summer I can get them also from close local growers. You are very well travelled. I've not been anywhere, really, but I love reading about the travels of others. If I had any money, I'd save and see the world. I think you're smart for using your own money to enjoy yourselves!

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    1. Strayer, isn't berry season so exciting. It is really hard to find good strawberries here. Often the smaller, the better. Aside from New Zealand and Thailand, most of our travel has been in this century.

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  12. I'm always learning about our world in all ways from blogs, I love it.
    No, have never been out of Australia, wouldn't mind to see Ireland but that's about it, would have to go on my own as B won't fly, well not for that length of time.
    Tomatoes - rarely can you I buy a decent tasting one at the supermarket, winter time especially dreadful thick skin. We manage to get some of a farm some years and these tomatoes are sold in a shop near the farm, however these ones are not like the tomatoes of yesteryear either.

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    1. Margaret, it wasn't until we went to Japan, and then a few years later Europe, that I realised how awful our tomatoes really are.

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  13. I always buy the little tomatoes, they have much more flavour.
    I have travelled a lot, and you're right, most of what I learned I have forgotten. But it's broadened my experiences and my mind, which is what matters to me.

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    1. There are always things you experience when travelling that stick in your mind, just perhaps not the bigger picture.

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