Found some gigantic, gnarly Travelers tomatoes from the farmers market. I took pics of them to blog about, and made a delicious panzanella salad. Then my phone got stolen and the pics that told the story 10,000 words never could. Regardless of the thievery, I still had something to say.
The ugly truth is…I don’t enjoy fresh tomatoes. Yes, I’m “one of those people.” Like Dr. Seus; I do not like them in a plane, or on a boat, I do not like them with a goat. Ketchup, gravy and salsa are cool, but not if the salsa tastes all tomatoey. I am not special, there are many like me. We lurk in the shadows, making small piles of unwanted fruit/vegetable on the side of the plate. Our blood runs cold when we forget to hold the tomatoes on a burger or sandwich; as we know the taste will spread like wildfire to engulf everything it comes in contact with.
Finding my way
Let me be clear; I can somewhat enjoy a tomato if two things happen. The tomato needs to be grown well with all needed nutirients, (or in Greece). Or, I have to brainwash myself. Telling myself before, during and after mastication that, “I have never tasted this exotic fruit/vegetable before, this is a new adventure, and it WILL be delicious.” I developed this routine in Greece on my honeymoon. Knowing that if I was to enjoy a tomato, Greece (with it’s volcanic soil) would probably be the place. So I sacked up, stopped being a wuss and started acting like I enjoyed them. It worked :-)
I thought I had read the science behind this but apparently not, as my interwebz research came up empty. What was surprising during the research was the lack of the question. All matters of science were discussing the nutritional change a tomato goes through when heated but nothing about the taste difference. What is there or not there after they are cooked?
Lycopene and glutamate levels are higher in cooked tomatoes and lycopenes molecular shape changes to something more absorbable. Maybe that changes the taste as well? I tend to think glutamate as well because of the vast difference between a salted and unsalted bite of tomato. The salt I think adds a missing link to the glutamate which then gives the taster a savory full bodied flavor. Like msg.