Simple sliced tomatoes, does it get any better? The earliest tomatoes are starting to show up here in central Texas! This is my personal favorite local food event … The arrival of the first tomatoes!I generally only by tomatoes when they are in season in Texas which is about early April thru to the beginning of the August heat. They are so delicious as is it seems a shame to put them in a dish!
Side dishes don’t need to be fancy to be nutritious. Often there just isn’t time to cook up multiple dishes with a list of ingredients for supper. We feel we need to but Grandma felt differently. For everyday cooking she would devote much of her time to the main dish. The side dishes were generally much simpler affairs. Some raw veggies, bread and simple cooked vegetables with a melted butter topping were her mainstays. And you know, it was just as nutritious with a fraction of the bother.
When I was a child my mother raised tomatoes nearly every year. Thru late spring and summer we would find tomatoes on the table just simply sliced and salted as in Mrs. Dull’s recipe below. She served them most everyday since we usually had so many to eat! Can’t tell you how much I looked forward to their appearance. Maybe your kiddos will feel the same.
Nutritious Fruit or Vegetable?
Botanically, tomatoes are a fruit and have a similar nutritional profile like lots of Vitamin C, for instance. Cooks think of tomatoes as vegetables due to their savory flavor. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K.
Do Tomatoes Have a Long History as Food?
As a member of the nightshade family of plants, tomatoes have a somewhat controversial history. They were not widely accepted when first brought to Europe. Many believed they were poisonous because many other plants in the nightshade family are in fact poisonous. The were embraced in Italy though and from there achieved widespread acceptance in Europe and North America. But before european’s first encountered the fruit natives in Mexico were growing it as food. According to the horticulture department in Aggieland (Texas A&M) the natives of Mexico have cultivated the plant as food since prehistoric times. Tomatoes do indeed have a long history of food use.
Mrs Dull’s recipe is on page 104 of “Southern Cooking”. I haven’t changed a thing since after all it’s just sliced tomatoes :-).
Recipe for Simple Sliced Raw Tomatoes
- a few good ripe tomatoes
- greenery to make the plate pretty (optional)
- A good sharp knife, preferably serrated.
- Simply slice the tomatoes to the desired thickness and arrange on a plate.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. You can add a dollop of homemade mayo or splash them with vinaigrette if you like.
Folks, it doesn’t get any easier than this!
Links to articles on tomatoes
- Weston Price Foundation – Jen Allbritton, CN – Good description of the best tomato preservation methods.
- Wikipedia – entry for tomatoes. Goes into some detail on the history of the plant.
- Weston Price Foundation – Garrett Smith, NMD – makes an argument that those who suffer inflammatory disease should not eat plants in the nightshade family.
- Texas A & M – more on the history of the tomato.