Monday, July 12, 2010

Love Apples: A Magpie Tale

Nothing says "summer" like ripe, red tomatoes. 

Tomatoes were a staple in our garden when I was a kid.  After harvesting, those that didn't go immediately to the dinner table were sliced, diced, pureed, and then "put up" into Mason jars.  We'd end up with enough to last us through the coming year.  Those tomatoes that didn't ripen up by the end of the season were turned into my grandma's special green tomato relish.  In later years, I'd ask my mom for green tomato relish for Christmas and she thought I was crazy, but there's nothing finer.  

Growing up in Iowa, a typical summer dinner would consist of mounds of corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes, both fresh from the garden.  Nothing else, just those two items. The tomatoes were first scalded with boiling water, so that the skins would separate and could be magically peeled off.  Then they'd be cut into thick slices.  Mom would serve them up on a big platter.  My brother and I ate ours with sugar sprinkled on top.  My sister and parents ate theirs with mayonnaise, which was always served in a little glass bowl with a silver base.  I always thought of that as "the mayonnaise bowl".

Sliced tomatoes were also turned into bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, another summer favorite.  Again, the mayonnaise bowl was put into service.  When we were going through my mom's things after she died last month, I came across the mayonnaise bowl.  It was one of the few things that actually reminded me of my mom, and of long, summer days when life was simple and good.  Tomato days. 

No wonder they call them Love Apples.

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Willow over at Life at Willow Manor  has been providing inspiration for bloggers with her photo prompts on a site called Magpie Tales.  Be sure to check out the other fabulous writers participating in Magpie Tales this week.  You'll be glad you did!
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