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Growing up in the Butcher: Tomatoes/ Pomodori


Ciao Amici,   

      The month of September is another special time to be a kid in the Italian community of Roseto; it’s fresh tomato from the garden time. I love remembering as a giovincello [youngster], when Grand mom would let me walk with her into the tomato patch.  Although at the time, the tomato plants were taller then I was. I could always see Grand mom’s long braid wrapped around the back of her head to lead me out. This, for me, was like a secret garden.

     The plants were tied to the pa-leed [poles] and the tomatoes hanging there were in all stages of growth; the flower, small green tomatoes and then the ripe red tomatoes. Grand mom grew several varieties. There were the little cherry tomatoes, the Roma plum [for canning], and the ox heart and beef steak. For some reason I always felt that the ox and beef steak tomatoes seemed to go with the butcher shop. She also grew yellow tomatoes and added them to the chicken stock for that extra golden color and flavor. Much like with the zucchini, we had tomatoes every day Una via o un altro [one way or the other.]

   Naturally the fresh tomatoes were used in a salad, but Grandmom and Mom would always add other components like boiled potatoes, celery, Italian olives, 

cucumbers, green beans, onions, scallions, peppers, garlic, mozzarella, or provolone. Mom always made, “pane con Pomodori & olio,” which is torn, day old bread, moistened with a little water and then tossed into a large bowl. The tomatoes are cut in half and then ha spremuto [squeezed] on top of the bread. The tomato pieces are cut up and added to the mixture. Mom would only add olive oil, salt & pepper. Then it was up to your imagination as to what else to add. This is a recipe where meno sono più ( less is more)that’s all that is needed to have a great salad! When the cooler weather arrived, Grandmom even cut the tomato vines and hung them inside and to my surprise they turned a beautiful red!

      As I smell the tomato plants while walking through my tomato patch at the shop, it takes me back to that moment in time when life felt so simple yet complete. I stop and I look up in the sky to where I can still see that long braid watching down on me.


“E difficile pensare qualche cosa ma pensieri piacevoli durante mangia una casa adulto  pomodoro” – Lewis Grizzard

“It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." - Lewis Grizzard


Con cordiali saluti,



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