Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Make a difference: Vote for heirloom tomatoes

We’re getting to the peak season for heirloom tomatoes, and as I squeezed and admire the variety of tomatoes at the farmers market recently, it got me thinking: huh, this is the same thing I do when trying to decide the next president. What, you got a better method? Forget the debates. Forget the straw polls. Just give your candidates a squeeze, I say.

So along those lines—and with the frenzy of the Iowa caucus right around the corner—here’s a rundown of some of the varieties of heirloom tomatoes as compared to the Democratic hopefuls:Tangerine—This is my favorite of the heirloom tomatoes I tried. It has a bright, orange exterior and a firm flesh. This is a tomato that dresses well and can stand up to any abuse. It’s the Hilary Clinton of heirloom tomatoes. (BTW, don’t assume that just because this is my favorite that I’m going to vote this way come 2008. It’s just Tangerine is the front-runner for now.)

Lemon Boy—Supposedly low on acidity and sweeter than most tomatoes, I consider this the John Edwards variety. It’s like the heirloom tomato that wants to be the Golden Boy, not the Lemon Boy. While the outside looks bright and lustrous, the inside tasted like every other tomato out there. Hollywood haircut not included.

Costaluto Genovese—Just the name evokes Italy to me. Its crumply exterior with the many ridges also makes me think: old crusty Italian guy. And when I think of old crusty guy, for some reason, I think Joe Biden. Sure, he’s a grandfather so I bet he’s quite loving and tender. But I’m sure there are times when his grandchildren are all like, “Oh gramps, you’re so old school.” That’s the Costaluto Genovese for you, old school tomato rich for sauces.

Pink Brandywine—This is actually one of the more popular heirloom tomatoes, mostly because of its size. They’re huge. Inside, the flesh is meaty and red, sometimes a rich dark red. I have very little to base this on, but I consider this the Bill Richardson of heirloom tomatoes. And I know it’s a cop out, but it’s mostly because Richardson is the largest of all the candidates. Sorry governor, maybe if you lose some weight, then maybe you can be a Costaluto Genovese?

Green Zebra—Now you know if Al Gore were around I’d be calling him the Green Zebra, mostly because green makes me think of the environment. But Gore is not running. He’s too busy lunching with Steven Spielberg or fried chicken. (C’mon, you have to bet it’s because of greasy food that Gore got that way. This is why I don’t eat fried foods.) Back to the Green Zebra, it’s small, firm and a bit tart. It’s the Dennis Kucinich of tomatoes.

Copia—Saving the best for last, the Copia is one of the more beautiful heirloom tomatoes. It has this amazing mix of red and orange colors that creates this amazingly beautiful tomato. When you bite into it, it’s a bit more juicy than the other tomatoes, if you like that in a president. ;-) To me, the Copia is the Barack Obama of tomatoes—two beautiful colors coming together but the end result is still something a bit squishy and wet inside despite the tough exterior. Maybe we can export some to Cuba.

Now I know I left out Christopher Dodd and some of the other non-major varieties on the Democratic side. But the only other heirloom tomato variety I tried that day was Shady Lady, and I didn’t think any candidate would want to be associated with that.


NotSoccer Mom said...

cool pix. hey, have you ever been to the tomato fest in carmel? i believe it's next month.

Chubbypanda said...

Awww... Poor Barack Obama tomato.

The Joe Biden tomato sounds interesting. I could do with a few of those for my roasted tomato sauce recipe.

Mrs. L said...

Brilliant. Nuff said.

Chef Ben said...

notsoccer mom: No, I haven't heard of that tomato festival. Sounds fun, but I need a ride!

Chubbypanda: I used some Costaluto Genovese to make a Caprese-like risotto. Check back this weekend!

Mrs. L: thanks! nuff said. ;-)

foodhoe said...

those pix are beautiful and make my mouth water! I like the way the green zebra looks best, now I'll have to prowl around to find them - wish me luck in my neck of the woods...