Saturday, April 26, 2008

Look, Ma! I Don't Know Who I Am Anymore!

I ate two raw tomatoes today. Normally, that would be nothing noteworthy. Many people are passionate about tomatoes and these were, at best, very large cherry tomatoes, but then most people haven't based their self worth and meaning around a single dietary dislike.

Starting in high school I basically threw everything out the window and started rebuilding myself from scratch. I forced myself to work through food and drink aversions, rethought my personal philosophy and beliefs and basically became an entirely different person over the course of a few years. Seriously, I went from being a dud with short, parted-at-the-side hair to being a dud with shaggy pseudo-fro and a moderately open mind. It was a huge shift for me.

During this tumultuous period, my psychological anchor was my hatred of raw tomatoes. Now, I've never been anti-tomato. I love them cooked in all forms. I dig on tomato sauces, ketchups, tomatoes in soups, cooked salsas, whatever, but if it was raw, I despised it. This was seriously the only food to which I could not overcome my aversion. Honestly, I think part of the problem is that I didn't want to overcome it. I'd put so much effort into overcoming everything else that it made me a little worried that abolishing this last quirk would leave me afloat in a sea of uncertainty.

That is until today, when I popped into my mouth a couple of the gourmet tomatoes I had bought from Harry's Farmer's Market in Alpharetta. The first one was an oddly striped purple and green thing (quite pretty, actually) and the other was of the yellow variety. I won't say that I entirely enjoyed the experience; raw tomatoes still smell vaguely of what I imagine cyanide to smell like, and the flavor is reminiscent of stinky beetles. The problem is that I wasn't entirely repulsed, either. I had this weird experience of having the feeling of suppressed shudders combined with the rational admission of, "Hey, this isn't really all that bad."

Now, I'm afraid. I really don't know who I am anymore. What is a man without his inborn hatreds? I honestly don't know where to go from here. My existential pain is so great from this experience that I felt the overwhelming desire to skip going to church with K tonight (Greek Orthodox Holy Week) and drink beer at Taco Mac instead to sooth my pain.


Julie said...

This fellow raw tomato hater is fairly disappointed in you. I actually tried to make myself like them for a year or two. They're like a super food that's supposed to be awesome for you, so I thought I should eat them. I will eat them in small bites, especially if they are diced and without seeds. I never moved past that, though, and no longer try after Dr. Oz said that cooked tomatoes are better for you anyway. More lycopene or something.

Chris said...

Stop it, Jacob! You're scaring me!

The trouble with tomatoes is it's so hard to find good ones, unless you grow them in your own garden. The ones at the grocery store usually feel and taste as if they were frozen during transport. But a truly fresh tomato slice on a hamburger or diced on salad is heavenly.