Phobia, or Explaining the Disdaining
I’ve been accused of having a phobia when it comes to tomatoes. The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines a phobia as An intense, abnormal, or illogical fear of a specified thing. I am not afraid of tomatoes I just can’t stand the taste of them. It’s not like I run away from them screaming like a girl from a 1950’s horror movie. I save that for bees. I have a phobia of those. The only tomatoes that I’m afraid of are these guys.
My disdain for the tomato began really when I was a teenager. While I never “liked” tomatoes I didn’t avoid them like I do now. My parents love tomatoes and always grew them. One year they had a bountiful harvest and my mother decided to make tomato sauce with them. Now my mother is not a culinary expert( I love you mom in case she’s reading this), she would be the first to tell you this ( I guess she did OK none of the 6 kids died of starvation). She pureed the tomatoes and simmered them down I think for weeks, maybe months, at least that’s what it seemed like then she would freeze it. It didn’t smell like a really good marinara it just smelled like boiling tomato juice. The whole house smelled like it. She simmered morning, noon and night. I, being a teenager who liked to sleep in , would be woken up by the sensory overload that was the aroma of the tomato sauce. It, in my mind ,wreaked. So you can imagine that I was less than excited when the sauce was made for spaghetti. Italian sausage helped but not much. Every time she made it I could smell the sauce and would flash back to the making of it.
Moving forward to adulthood( in my case that’s a relative term). For those of you that don’t know, I work for a food distributer. I worked nights for 14 years. One night I was sent to clean a spill, you can imagine my horror when I saw that it was a clean up of tomatoes. Not just a few but 10, 10 pound flats of cherry tomatoes.That’s right a hundred pounds of tomatoes, rolling all over the floor. That wouldn’t have been bad. but most of them had been run over until they were something like a muddy tomato paste. Then the smell hit me! I immediately flashed back to my youth. AAAAAAAAAGGGG, the tomato sauce was back to haunt me again(love you mom) . I gagged on the smell. I wanted to run away screaming like a girl from a 1950’s horror movie. It was all I could do to keep my lunch down but I did. Like a good employee I forced my way through that unpleasant situation, but I haven’t been able to stomach them at all since.
I’m happy in my denial that I have a phobia of tomatoes, I don’t have to eat them in my world. I do like one tomato his name is Bob.