Friday, June 27, 2008

Missing Tomatoes and Ugly Chickens

About fifteen years ago I read something very funny about tomatoes. I've tried for years to remember the name of it. I couldn't remember who wrote it either. I was thinking that it was something like The Great Tomato Epidemic of 1978.

That wasn't it. Anyway, it was a very short funny thing, really short, and I couldn't find it. I had read it in a library book, a collection of short stories, and I wasn't really even sure of the name of that book. I remember that it was one of those "best of" books, and that it was in the same volume with a story called "The Ugly Chickens." (The Ugly Chickens is also a very funny story, though not nearly as short as the one about tomatoes.) Since I did not want to go back to that library and try to find a collection of short stories containing the story "The Ugly Chickens" in order to find another story about tomatoes, I have many times tried to find the tomato story on the Internet.

Sometimes Google just doesn't seem very helpful. You would think that science fiction stories about tomatoes would be a rare thing and what I was looking for would pop right up. But most searches either lead to Killer Tomatoes or Rotten Tomatoes, so I was having no luck with it. Sometimes, just no amount of typing or banging one's head against the wall produces what one is looking for.

Anyway, this morning I found this. I'd remembered the name entirely wrong. In fact, it turned out to be The Dread Tomato Addiction, so the only word I'd gotten right was tomato. And it's a lot shorter than I remembered, only one page. Still, it is funny.

Around here, I am starting to miss tomatoes. I'd heard on the news that there was a problem with salmonella poisoning and tomatoes, but I hadn't really paid much attention to it. I didn't pay attention to the previous problem with spinach either. I just thought that if I got any from the store that I would wash them, and if I got any at a restaurant someone else would wash them, and that would be that. Apparently, it isn't that simple, and you can't just wash the stuff off of the tomatoes. But, still, I wasn't really paying attention.

Then a week or two ago we went to Taco Cabana and had tacos. But there was no tomatoes on the tacos, and there was no pico de gallo on the salsa bar either. I can't think of anything that I eat there that I don't want pico de gallo, so I guess I won't be going there til it is all sorted out. The next day we went to Whataburger, and again there was the sign on the door saying that they wouldn't be serving tomatoes for a while. I prefer tomatoes on my hamburger, so I ordered a fish sandwich instead, so that I did not notice the absence of tomatoes as much.

A few days after that, I forgot about the whole tomato thing, and we went to Chipotle's. But they still had pico de gallo, so my burrito was not ruined.

My plants are not producing at the moment, which I had assumed was due to the heat. Tomatoes don't produce fruit above a certain temperature, and being in Texas we spend a lot of time with the temperature being above whatever it is that makes the tomato plants happy. So I had not thought much of it, just that it must have gotten hotter sooner this year than last time I had tomato plants. Only my neighbors with tomato plants are still getting a fair amount of tomatoes, and at least one guy is having a bumper crop. So I must have done something wrong, and I will have to read up on it later.


dmarks said...

There is also "The Rogue Tomato" by Michael Bishop. 1976 Hugo Nominee and Locus Poll Award winner (best short story). It is a "Philip K. Dick homage,.... postulating a sentient tomato with the massof a planet, clearly crosses the line from speculation to fabulation."

Clearly, the field of tomato science fiction is much larger than I would have dreamed. Two stories larger, in fact.

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

I didn't know tomatoes could carry salmonella. We grow our own salads in a glasshouse. We pick them as required at mealtimes, you can't get fresher than that.

Do you remember a Simpsons episode where they crossed tomato and tobacco, so everyone got addicted?

laughingattheslut said...

I don't remember that from the Simpsons.

I'm jealous if you have a greenhouse. I've wanted one for about twenty years. Of course if I had one I'd have to have it add an AC for half of the year.

Now I have to look up Rogue Tomato thing.

dmarks said...

I've not read "Rogue Tomato", but I found reference to it when looking for tomato science-fiction.

The science-fiction story I have been looking for for years is "Dune Roller" by Julian May. It has nothing to do with tomatoes.

Purple Pigeon said...

lol at the Tomato story! Theres a similar thing at Snopes involving water. Check it out!

Purple Pigeon said...

oh, and I've found a Bread one!

laughingattheslut said...

Good news. Pico de gallo is back at Taco Cabana for now. Maybe everything will go back to normal now.