So I bought some tomatoes the other day. I know what you’re thinking — “So what?” The thing is, I hate tomatoes. Every time I go to a restaurant, whether it’s Taco Bell, Panera or somewhere fancy, I always amend my order with “no tomato.” I don’t like their taste or slimy texture. Ketchup I love, tomato sauce I like, but I can’t get behind tomatoes themselves.
But then the other day we were at a Japanese restaurant that gave us some free tomatoes as an appetizer. They were sliced and drizzled with some kind of sauce, perhaps balsamic and soy. I had already finished the edamame appetizer and was still hungry — hungry enough to eat a tomato slice. And it wasn’t bad. I didn’t like it enough to eat another slice, but didn’t hate it enough to spit it out. It served its purpose of keeping me busy until my main arrived, and I promptly forgot about the tomato. … until a few days later. I suddenly started craving tomato. So much so that I went to Tesco and bought a whole pack of tomatoes and cooked them with onion, lentils and balsamic vinegar for lunch. It was delicious. But how does that happen? How can you go from detesting something to craving it? It’s happened to me once before. I used to hate sushi. The thought of eating raw fish seemed like the grossest thing ever. Until one day when I was super hungry during my job in college. One of my coworkers had picked up a sushi roll at the student union and was eating it right next to me. And suddenly all I could think about was sushi. Even the soy sauce seemed delectable. So the minute I got off work, I went to the student union and got a California roll — and it was magical, artificial crab and all. It took me awhile to advance from rolls named after US cities and states (California and Philly rolls were my standbys) to actual slices of raw fish. In fact, I think that only happened because I was in China once and they put a slice of sashimi (raw fish) in front of me and I felt compelled to at least try it so as not to be rude. But now I eat sushi and sashimi at least two or three times a week. I wonder if tomatoes will somehow make it into the rotation (although I still have to scoop out the slimy stuff and I still don’t think I’d enjoy them on a sandwich, but baby steps…)