Faux Food

My compliments to the cook.

It was the sort of place where “chef” would have seemed a bit pretentious: a Greek/pizza/diner eatery in a small Ontario town. Even though I’d chosen my words carefully, the server looked a question. In response, I gestured at the plate.

This is how tomatoes are supposed to be.

An experienced server, she did the sensible thing: Do not engage, smile, and edge away.

There are two kinds of restaurants in this world: Those that do the right thing, and those that do not.

Ripe tomato slices, as they should be

The Right Thing.

Tomato slices with hard, white core


Is there really anyone, anywhere in the world, who likes a tomato slice with a tasteless, hard, white centre surrounded by a ring of mush? I think not.

Laid out on a plate, at least they’re obviously awful and can be avoided. Hidden in a BLT or sub sandwich, they ambush the palate, ruining an otherwise wonderful mouthful. So why do they keep showing up?

Maybe it’s fear of conflict, preventing us from sending faux tomatoes back to the kitchen.

Maybe it’s inertia, keeping us from complimenting cooks who provide real tomatoes.

Maybe the problem lies deeper. Maybe we’ve gotten so used to year-round tomatoes that we’ve forgotten what tomatoes are supposed to be like.


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6 Responses to Faux Food

  1. Marion says:

    I read [somewhere, somewhat recently] that these hard white centers come as a result of the genetic modifications required to make a tomato that will last longer from picking to supermarket.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – Well, they should stop it. What’s the point of getting the tomato to the store in a state unfit to be eaten?

  2. Alison says:

    Just planted my garden! I can’t understand why everyone isn’t gardening these days? What with limp grocery store lettuce, and hard tomatoes, and flavourless strawberries, as well as the risk of E Coli, EVERYONE should be planting a garden, even if it’s small. Such reward, for very little effort.

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