Category Archives: Tomato

I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going tomato this anymore

I’m giving up. Or taking a stand. Whatever you call it, I’m not going to put up with it any longer.

Tomatoes from the store (or restaurant, or wherever) don’t taste like anything anymore. I love tomatoes, but that’s not what I’m eating on my salads or sandwiches anymore. I don’t know WHAT I’m eating. They are red and round and they vary in size, but there’s no taste. Its purpose is texture only. And let’s face it, tomatoes can have a pretty gnarly texture.

So, this weekend, after shelling out for a clamshell pack of organic grape tomatoes at our local grocery store, only to throw them away because they tasted like soft sour nothing instead of just plain nothing…I’m not going to do it anymore.

I guess tomatoes just really suffer from being out of season, or not locally grown. So from now on, we’ll buy tomatoes during the months from July to October, and we’ll buy them only from farmer’s markets, or we’ll mooch them off our parents. I don’t want to forget what tomatoes taste like. This is the dystopian future I live in. Take that, Hunger Games / Divergent / The Maze Runner.

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Filed under Nature, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Self improvement, Tomato, Writing

It’s not rocket science; or, “Sandwiches Snadwiches”

Yesterday I found myself back at the Safeway in Mill Valley, which has given me great stories in the past.

I stopped in there to pick up a sandwich for lunch before the final 2 performances of God of Carnage at MTC. Sandwiches are great, and probably on my favorite things list, even though I’ve been eschewing turkey (and that’s just one of several things) because of potential harmful effects during pregnancy.

So I just wanted to stop by and get a cheddar, avocado, and veggie sandwich on sliced sourdough.

A good sign: there was no one in line when I walked in. So I went straight up to the counter, where a super polite young man said, “I’ll be right with you.” Then, he went on to say, “Good afternoon, what may I get you?”

Wow, such service. I started explaining what I wanted.

“So you want a veggie sandwich – would you like me to describe the veggie sandwich to you?”

“Um, that’s okay,” I said, “What I want is actually a “California Dreamin'” without the turkey and bacon.”

“The “California Dreamin'” now goes by the name “Turkey Bacon Avocado,” he said.

“Okay.”

He began to assemble the sandwich. Kind of sloppily. I don’t understand why sandwich-makers at Safeway don’t know how to make a sandwich. They always pile everything on the center of the bread. Don’t you know you have to spread the avocado to the edges? And you shouldn’t just stack all the tomatoes in the center? It’s not rocket science, people. Make the type of sandwich that you would want to eat.

And it’s not just Mill Valley Safeway. It was in Mountain View that I watched a guy squirt mustard on one slice of bread, and then pick up both slices, one in each hand, and stare at them, puzzled, until he slowly smashed them together and rubbed the mustard around.

Wow.

When Mill Valley guy was finishing up (having just placed a large pile of pickles in two square inches), he said, “Now, our policy dictates that I charge you an extra fifty cents.” For avocado, I assume? “But I’m debating in my head whether or not to charge you that. That policy is in place to deter people from ordering sandwiches like this. But I don’t think we’ll suffer any damages – any long-term damages, that is – because I don’t think many people will order sandwiches like this.”

“Um…okay.”

WTF? For the record, here is the part of the menu that makes me think that it’s acceptable – nay, encouraged – for you to actually order what you want to eat, rather than just choosing from the 8 pre-designed options.

The key word here is “choose”…

Finally he handed it over. And I walked 10 feet away, found the voice memo application on my phone, and dictated what he had just said, because I was worried I’d forget part of it.

Then I called Drew and told him about it.

When I got to the theater, I found he didn’t even cut it in half for me. Which is kind of the most annoying part. I mean, who wants to pick up an entire sandwich?

Apparently the bane of Safeway’s existence – a product of theirs that someone ordered and paid for.

First world problems, am I right?

When the actors started arriving, one of them (with whom I had just bonded over orchids the prior day – I’m starting to think we might be some kind of soulmates or something) started telling a story about how he’d just stopped to pick up a sandwich at Safeway. We then went on to bond over our annoyance at the crazy people working there, and how in New York, you can just order food and then get it and then get out in record time, but here it seems to take people forever to get anything done.

Yeah, we were those people.

Anyway, the sandwich was okay, the shows went great, I was home by 10:30 and in bed by 11:15, and I got to sleep in until 8:30 this morning. So overall…life is good.

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Filed under "Other people", Food, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Pregnancy, Theatre, Tomato, Work

Making Mom Proud, or, A Very Beet Story

Over Labor Day weekend, my mom brought me a bunch of home-grown food: a zucchini, some beets (red and golden), cherry tomatoes, pear tomatoes, pears (not ripe yet), and a gallon Ziplock full of blackberries – my favorite!

I wanted to do something special with it all – I like the concept of “living off the land,” not that I’ve ever actually done it, and I’ve never cooked beets before.

So I dreamed up this menu for last night, basically using everything. On Wednesday night I cooked the beets so that I could refrigerate them all day. Beets, it turns out, are the most fun.

"What am I gonna do with these here beet greens?" Answer...nothing.

Meanwhile, the beets bubbled away on the stovetop.

Then I peeled them – and the skins came right off, just like the internet said they would.

Oh so satisfying.

Then into the refrigerator so that last night I could make beet salad.

Beet salad! Microgreens, beets, cherry tomatoes, and shaved parmesan. (Also penne with chicken, zucchini, and pesto.)

(Tonight! Leftover beet salad! Also, potstickers. And leftover rice.)

After dinner last night, it was time to make blackberry pie.

Yay mom!

Success, beezys!

Thanks, Mom! If you have more beets or berries you need to get rid of, you know where I am.

(Coincidentally, Jamba Juice has a “Berry Upbeet” smoothie that combines these two flavors. You’d think I would love it. But actually it tastes like berry, with an undertaste of V8. It’s okay, but it’s not going to become my go-to.)

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Filed under Awesome, Being a girl, Family, Food, Love, Nonfiction, Tomato

New York’s Weirdest Habit, And My Special Spinach Salad

Tonight was kind of a frustrating night at work. It had nothing to do with my own co-workers, for which I am grateful. However, it does have to do with people I have to interact with on a regular basis, so some of these issues will come up again. And probably again.

But, it’s come to my attention over and over again lately that I can’t really keep any secrets in this forum. That’s partly because I keep linking my name with this blog. So I guess it’s my fault. This is about 90% blessing and 10% curse. Sometimes I wish I could just bitch about something or someone – but I can’t.

That being said, in 2007 I worked at this deli-type place in New York. Every week we had a “special” salad, and one week, I convinced the owner to name the special after me! Here’s proof:

Anyway, I worked as a cashier, and took orders over the phone. It was often an annoying job. Also, it was way less fulfilling than my job now. Except I did get free food everyday. And I often took extra food home for Drew. We didn’t pay for very much food during the 8 months I worked there.

One day I made a list of all the things customers did at the register that drove me crazy. I have carried that list around – inexplicably – for 4 years. Since I can’t very well talk about all the things that frustrate me now, here is a list of annoying things that customers used to do.

  • Leaving trash on the counter for me to throw away
  • Setting things down and then going to get more stuff – especially when there’s a line behind them
  • Waiting until I’ve bagged all their food to say they want to stay
  • Wanting me to bag their drinks*
  • When I say “Is that all?” and they say “Yes. And also…”
  • Digging for change while I wait, and then they don’t have any change
  • A guy who only has a $5 bill out to pay for a tuna sandwich (it’s $5.75 before tax)
  • Paying with a credit card for a small soup**
  • Talking on their cell phone, then acting all “why are you interrupting my call?” when I try to talk to them
  • People asking for stupid things (forks, napkins, etc)***
  • Handing me money all folded up
  • Throwing their money on the counter
  • Giving me awkward change (like if their total is $11.65, and they give me $20.05, so their change is $8.40 – fail)
  • Looking pained while doing any of the above

*This still baffles me. The weirdest New York thing I discovered, was that they put your drinks into a bag for you. Not just your bottle of Snapple – but your coffee in a styrofoam cup, or your fountain diet Coke. Drew and I discovered this in Brooklyn, when one day out of desperation for normalcy we walked about 40 blocks to the closest McDonalds, and the bored cashier put our Sprites into a bag and handed them to us. We were all like, WTF is that about? But they do it there all the time! It’s so weird! Please don’t put my coffee into a bag – if it’s too hot to carry I’ll take a sleeve or a double cup…

**I am guilty of doing this now. So I can’t really complain anymore.

***I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. In retrospect, it’s okay if they ask for forks. I think it’s stupid because they just watched me put a fork and napkins into their bag.

There. I feel better. /rant

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Filed under "Other people", Awesome, Memoir, Tomato, Work

Day 11: Expect more tweets.

My parents stopped by this afternoon. We did some catching up and they took me to my local Verizon store, where we picked up my first ever smartphone. I have now jumped on board the smartphone train! I honestly do think it’ll be really useful for work. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I see how this smartphone thing could become super addictive, super fast. Anyone want to play Words with Friends?

I mean, look up things for work?

Then we went out to dinner and sat there talking until 10:00. I miss my parents. They are significantly geographically closer to me than they were from 2006-2009. But I guess I still don’t see them enough.

PS. My basil is finally starting to grow. There are tiny tiny little sproutings. I’ll have to see how this goes. It’s very cold and windy right now, I feel sad for the plants stuck outside.

PPS. Just checked my weather app. For some reason the defaults are Cupertino and New York City. Looks like NYC is getting thunderstorms twice this week. I’m strangely jealous – those crazy summer thunderstorms are intense.

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Filed under Awesome, Beginnings, Family, Tomato, Work

Tomato Plant 2011

So on Memorial Day weekend, I planted a new tomato plant (in a Topsy Turvy) and pots of dill and basil seeds. Here is what they looked like two weeks ago:

We’ve had kind of back-and-forth weather, but the tomato has been growing upwards…and this morning I noticed there is baby dill! And one of the flowers on the tomato plant is turning into a baby tomato.

(You can see how great the weather is today…eh.)

No sign from the basil yet, but that’s okay. If it doesn’t take I might try again and hope for more sun.

All this gloomy weather – and the wind! – has meant spending more time indoors. We recently finished watching the second season of Modern Family on Hulu Plus. After we finished the last episode, this little notice popped up:

“Need a break? You have been watching for more than 3 hours.”

The thing is, we definitely hadn’t been watching that long at the time. So I don’t know about that. But I did like Modern Family!

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Filed under Nature, Tomato

*Insert air violin*

RIP tomato plant.

It’s been getting shabbier and shabbier, and while there are still lots of green tomatoes on it, they didn’t seem to be ripening or growing any bigger.  I still watered it and fed it, but I wondered if the weather lately (ping ponging back and forth from hot to foggy) had done a number on it, or maybe it had gotten sick, or maybe I just inadvertently killed it somehow.

Last Tuesday there were people here, and one of them, acting unknowingly as my grief therapist, assisted me in first pinching off all of the dead leaves.  From there it was a slippery slope to me shouting “Let’s just pull it!”  A few people had told me that even if the plant is dead, you can take the branches and hang it upside down and the tomatoes will ripen.  When we tried to pull the plant out of the dirt, the entire 5 gallon block of Miracle Gro and roots came with it, which is when it occurred to us that this kitty litter bucket might have been too small for the size of the plant.

My therapist suggested we cut it in half and plant half in another bucket, but plants don’t come with dotted lines down the middle, and I was in a state of exhileration at this point.  So we hacked off the branches with fruit on them and hung them upside down, and then kicked all the crunchy leaves on the floor off the balcony.

The next day when I peeped out onto the balcony I beheld the saddest sight: some leaning over, leafless, scrawny branches, a mess of carnage on the floor, and a couple branches tied up with baby blue yarn, bearing tomatoes that I have to admit to myself will probably never be edible.

The weird thing is that I don’t really remember what prompted the slaying.  It feels sort of like looking back on a drunken or just very late night.  It’s somewhere between the “Oops, I shouldn’t have cut my own bangs” and “Oops, it wasn’t a good idea to slaughter my pet pot bellied pig and serve it up with barbecue sauce.”  Thank God this was “just” a plant and not a pet.  And thank God I never got around to naming it.

My basil is dead (although I didn’t really expect that to work out either, as I just bought a little basil plant from Trader Joe’s and stuck it in dirt) but the rosemary seems to be thriving.

I’ll try again with the tomatoes next year.

I had to clean everything off the balcony and get rid of the evidence because it was depressing me.  And making me feel a little guilty, honestly.

I’m not leaving you with a picture because I want you to remember the good old days, the days of lushness and prosperity.

I close my eyes only for a moment then the moment’s gone…
Dust in the wind…All we are is dust in the wind.

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Filed under Endings, Not awesome, Sentiment, Tomato