Picking tomatoes

tomatoes in vinegar
I tried to make Moomin pick the cherry tomatoes with me. I don’t even like tomatoes, but these were so tiny and cute, and I like the way the leaves smell when you pick them. My mom’s dad used to grow enormous tall gardens full of corn and giant tomato plants and beans and rhubarb and of course the dreaded extremely prolific zucchini. He’d send me in to pick stuff. It was like a forest. The corn and beans towered over me in mysterious rows. Barefoot in the soft beautiful dirt. None of it (except corn) was stuff i liked to eat. Picking it though seemed like a primal harvest time. It was great. In retrospect I wonder how he learned it? Was it a victory garden thing? A thing his family did when he was a kid? I don’t know if I really care to ask but I wonder sometimes anyway. So, you think of the good parts of things and want to pass them down. I know about gardens from my dad and my mom’s dad.

Moomin doesn’t like dirt and as a small child he didn’t like the feel of grass on his feet or legs. He’d refuse completely to walk on grass with bare feet. Also, even at 1 year old he could eat a popsicle without spilling a drop anywhere and ending up with a clean face, finicky and precise like a grown cat licking milk.

So I accepted long ago that I was a mud-wallowing grubby worm-ring-in-the-rain-wearing kid, and he’s just not. That is not one of the joys I get to pass down to him.

Back to the tomatoes! I cajoled him into picking a couple. He didn’t want to stick his hand into the leaves of the itty bitty tomato bush any more than he would stick his hand into a thrashing-around alligator’s mouth. Okay! I get it! No harvest magic for Moomin!

Your kids aren’t going to enjoy everything you enjoy. Or not in the same way.

Oh by the way I absolutely loathed raw tomatoes to the point of phobia until just last year. Now I like really good ones especially with oil and vinegar – as the cherry tomatoes ended up – with oregano in there too. They are no longer slimy and horrible and squashy and reminding me of innumerable grandparently pesterings and tongue-cluckings and shame. Now they are just tasty. Me and Rook and Zizi’s cool mom sat around in her yard, devouring them with fresh mozzerella!

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