For 32 years I’ve been a proud and outloud tomato hater. Oooo, especially raw ones- my goodness!
So, what’s happening here?
As Sweets and I were traveling in Japan, we were also taking in Anthony Bourdain’s essays on eating in, the Nasty Bits. One point we couldn’t agree more on was our horror over travelers who refuse to partake in an offered food item by a host. Whether you may be a vegetarian or a staunch no mustard sort of person- we saw the refusal of food as a guest as very rude. Feeling so righteous in our absolutism we then found ourselves bit by bit being faced with these same opportunities to expand our own food comfort.
Sweets really got ambitious without making much fuss over it. First with an offering of homemade pickles at Chiiori (Sweets doesn’t do pickle- no way Jose). Then he took to ordering a beef tendon specialty in Osaka. Amazed and proud I almost lost my cool in a fit of giggles when he strongly considered a skewer of chicken cartilage.
And then my turn unexpectedly arrived in the sushi bar Nobu in Hiroshima. Sitting at the swank glowing counter, we ordered adventurously including silly sounding creations like Mexican Sushi. What arrived with this order was a plate of sliced sushi roll piled high with glistening tomatoes specked with garlic. Sweets caught my sharp intake of breath as our conversation with the sushi chef halted to take in the food offering of she-who-musn’t-be-eaten: raw tomatoes! It came down to a sliver of a second long thought process: sushi chef = good sushi, therefore trust in sushi chef is high, therefore just try em. Plus, Sweets wouldn’t let me live it down if I didn’t.
I had to eat crow… they were good, especially so with the garlic. Like juicy spaghetti sauce in my mouth. It was earth shattering
- though something I left to Japan.
Until my coworker John gave me two of his heirloom tomatoes from his garden, like he was calling my bluff. Trusting his taste buds, I couldn’t back down from his challenge to try these out state-side. A slice of soft ciabatta spread with mayonnaise, topped with avocado and tomato sprinkled with bacon and salt… its sweet and salty and savory, like summer.
In all this food enlightenment, we’ve never been disappointed. I can’t help but wonder what will I relearn next?