My fondness for vegetables has been a recent one. When I was growing up, I was not known for my food adventurousness. I pretty much ate raw carrots and cabbage as my vegetables of choice. Everything else was too gross. Potatoes were vegetables, right?
My Dad used to have a garden patch outside where he’d grow carrots, peas, fuzzy squash, tomatoes, and some other stuff I can’t really remember. But, you know – Veggies and stuff. This was before gardening was all the rage like it is now, but I still thought it was cool because, hello, we lived in the suburbs and MY Dad could grow his own food. Did my other friends’ Dads do that? No.
Still, that was Dad’s garden. Most of the veggies from there were consumed by Dad, and Dad alone because no one else in the family really liked vegetables. This was not through lack of trying/begging/yelling on my Dad’s part.
One day, my Dad and I were near his garden and he was eating some plum tomatoes in between doing yard work. I was being your typical underfoot kiddo, when he started pushing tomatoes. I think they were plums or something. They were bite sized little tomatoes.
I was unsure, but not my completely defiant I-HATE-VEGETABLES self. These were tomatoes. A VEGETABLE. That I was pretty sure I didn’t like.
But they were small and cute. And they smelled good. All fresh off of the vine and tomato-y.
And then my Dad used the magic words:
“They’re sweet. Really sweet. They taste like candy.”
Why hadn’t Dad mentioned he was growing candy before? Right in our garden? And all along I thought…
And then I tasted the tomato part. Which tasted exactly like a tomato and nothing at all like the Jolly Ranchers, SweeTarts, or Gummi Bears I was imagining.
“EW, GROSS!! THAT IS NOT CANDY!!” I shouted, spitting the tomato out.
“Well, it’s sweet. It’s like candy. But it’s not.” my dad replied. (Most likely with some sigh and tone of defeat in his voice, but hey, I was, like, 4 and only concerned about the icky taste in my mouth)
“It tastes like a vegetable! I’m never eating tomatoes again!!”
And that’s the first time I tried tomatoes.