My Roma Tomato Haiku…ahem

Roma Tomatoes

They’re bringing back memories

Of our famous sauce

Last Summer and Fall, when Keith and I were making spaghetti sauce, I shared with him something I thought I had already told him. When I was a child, my family would make spaghetti sauce every year. We called it, “The Sauce.” He knew that part. Here’s the part he didn’t know…

Me: Yeah, we used to make, I guess, somewhere around 220, 230 quarts each year.

Him: You mean pints.

Me: No, quarts.

Him: No you didn’t.

Me: (indignant) Yes, we did.

Him: 220 quarts?! C’mon!

Me: You want me to call Mom and Dad? I know, I’ll call my sister. (Dials) Hi, Doreen? Tell me, how many quarts, roughly, did we make of sauce every year? Wait, do you mind telling Keith? Ok, hold on, here he is. Ok? Cool. Thanks, love you. (Turning to Keith) SEE!?!?!?!?

My Dad commissioned Mr. C, the farmer across the road from us to grow the tomatoes, onions and peppers for our sauce every year. Then, we’d set aside a weekend, get all the bushels of veggies and make sauce all weekend. When I was smaller, I was responsible for washing the veggies. My Dad always did the squishing – it was a manual process. The kitchen was filled with bushels and bushels of veggies. We bought dried herbs to mix in. My sister’s responsibility was to wipe the jars down, put the just-boiled lids on the jars and then screw the bands on.

Then, at the very end of the day (usually 12 hours later, at least), with aching feet and sore backs, we’d sit at the kitchen and listen to the jars pop. If you’ve never canned (jarred), this is the sound of the lid creating the suction seal. It’s like a, “Peenk” sound. We announced every one until someone shut us (me) up. “There’s one.” “There’s another!” “There they all go” Peenk Peenk Peenk.

So, last year, when we made sauce, I didn’t call Dad to get “The Sauce” recipe, but I tried to make my own version. Onions, green peppers, garlic powder, onions, (secret ingredients). It came out “okay.” I’m not good without recipes. Keith made a sauce that was a bit on the spicy side. We labeled them with our names and taste tested (can you tell we’re a bit competitive? Makes things fun! We’re currently in a FourSquare war over the mayorship of a coffee shop down the road.) His was better than mine. (Grumble)

So, you saw the picture in the last post of all those cherry and grape tomatoes? He made them into a sauce last weekend. We bought a hand-crank “Sauce Master” last season that works pretty well. He kept the sauce on a low-simmer overnight and it is nice and thick. I think we’ll jar it up this weekend.

I got home from the DJ today, grabbed a basket and went outside in the 91 degree heat and heavy humidity to pick the veggies that I could see were ready.

I grabbed a bigger basket than last week.

Those are husk cherries on the top of the basket. This basket didn’t work too well. Cherry tomatoes and husk cherries kept falling out of the holes. I should have gotten on the scale with it. This was not light. And it was hot. Damn hot. Africa hot. I struggled to get it inside and on the counter. Everything has been sorted and washed and are now sitting on the counter, waiting for whatever we have planned for it this weekend.

We started some unique varieties of ‘maters. One is Reistomate. I just ripped up the renewal notice to the Martha Stewart Living magazine. I just can’t keep up with all the magazines, and he reminded me that he read about the Reistomate in one of the issues. I guess I will renew. I mean, she is the Queen.

~Small aside ~

I called Martha Stewart Living radio last year. I didn’t get to speak with Her Highness, but I did weigh in. Reenactment below..

Kim from MS Morning Living: Hi, who’s this and where are you from?

Me: Jennifer from New Hampshire

Kim: So, what rice varieties do YOU think Martha has in her pantry? (Of course, IF one were dirty minded, one COULD take that sentence the wrong way and snigger a little bit at what OTHER things Martha has in her pantry, but I didn’t, for me,  I was concentrating on rice.)

Me: Well, I’m sure she has White, Wild, Jasmine, and Basmati.

Kim: Right. There’s one more, can you think of it?

Me: Um…

Kim: It starts with an, “A”

Me: Oh, I can’t think of it.

Kim: Arborio

Me: Riiiight. Arborio. Of course.

Kim: (trying to make sure I didn’t start to cry for not thinking of Arborio) Basmati is so good, isn’t it?

Me: I know, I think it tastes like popcorn.

Kim: It does, doesn’t it? Well, thanks, Jennifer. Bye. (I am disconnected.) What other items do you think are staples in Martha’s pantry?

Cool, huh? My brush with the Queen (well, one of her minions). I follow her on Twitter too. Yes, I do. I am not ashamed.

Reistomate

So, aren’t these funky? They’re like grape tomatoes that have grown together into a tomato blob.  We haven’t tried them yet (I’m eating a cob of corn right now, don’t feel like having a tomato). Apparently, you can just sort of pick a little blob off the mega-blob and eat the little one. I read that they’re sorta sour. We shall see. Don’t the ones on the right look like those little decorative pumpkins?

We also grew some Striped Roma tomatoes. These are weird too.

Striped Romas

I like the color variation. The little nipple they have hanging off the end is a bit, well, unique to say the least. That’s a good place to close this post. Tomato nipples. Ponder it.

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