Tomato Innards

Do you know what it’s like to sit down and write? About yourself, I mean. For yourself.

No? That’s okay — have you ever cut a tomato?

Tell me yes, you have cut a tomato. I need you to know you’ll be able to run with me here. Otherwise I’ll need to know how on earth you’re still standing. (Consider the BLT! And all the windows of opportunity for a height-of-the-season caprese salad. Lost!)

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Personal writing is just like cutting a tomato. A phenomenally overly ripe tomato. It can be a supermarket-issued Roma — it doesn’t much matter. It just needs to fill the palm of your hand, look reasonably red, and make a satisfyingly audible thump when you tip it onto its back. Onto the plastic excuse of a cutting board you’ve got. [To get rid of.]

Pause: this analogy is only going to work if you’re a terrible tomato chopper, like me. If you are more of a squisher, generally speaking. A squisher as in someone who squishes. Skillfully.

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Will you picture what happens when you have how-to-dice amnesia? When you begin by making a single slice, straight down the middlemost seam. You do this with a fair amount of confidence, don’t you? Side 1 and Side 2 — that’s all you’re looking for. Only now you have something else to contend with. The INNARDS. Yes, exactly. The damn innards. Every slippery seed, and all the goop that glues them together.

It’s this goop that’s the trouble. How it wasn’t there a second ago, how it’s everywhere now. How infuriatingly difficult it is to grasp. To get a grip on. Not to mention the way it’s currently cascading across your board, onto the counter. And, better not look now: dripping down your cabinets. And…yup, pooling on the floor.

It’s the goop you end up with, sometimes. Just the goop, in a little lake at your feet.

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There’s really nothing to do but mop up what you can. Squeeze out the sponge. Stuff a pepper, for snack.

Ditch the tomato, and take a piquillo pepper. (You have one of those, I’m sure.) Stuff it with quinoa, grilled corn, and heirloom carrots, and then drown it in chile oil. Trust!

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And if that doesn’t quite fill you up, what could I do to encourage you to think about having a little ravioli? Ravoli. With butternut squash, goat cheese, sage, crispy Brussels sprouts, walnuts, and maple béchamel.

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Maple béchamel. 

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It’s that time! (I’m happy to report.)

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