Long before so many studies on how to make tomatoes look bright red and juicy, long before they had so much puffery on how good they may or may not be for you, I was experimenting with them. I’ve grown thousands of tomatoes in the past 50 years, from seed and from plants in nurseries, raising all shapes and sizes. I’ve canned them, made jelly with them, produced all kinds of dips and sauces, and ate them from the plants.
Lycopene, the red carotenoid pigment, has been of interest in most studies. That ingredient may fight off cancer. Studies generally agree that when you increase the color it has a tendency to reduce the vitamin A content. If all that matters to you is whether tomatoes may reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer, than you’ve got a long wait till everyone agrees. However, what if the studies done on tomatoes ends up right, and you haven’t eaten your fair share to stay healthy? I say, you have missed the zest they offer and the experience of biting into them. The exalted tomato shows its quality by erupting enough juice to escape your mouth, in which case the tomato enjoys a laugh.
When I was growing up, napping in the afternoon was commonplace. Many times those sitting on park benches had saliva running out their mouth. It was nothing to see people drooling on the B bus on the way into Philly. Napping was big-time in the workplace. It was nothing to see heads lying on desks. Many desks had bells a customer was expected to ring. It takes some guts to stand in front of a desk, place your finger on the bell and begin hitting it up and down to wake them up. It’s easy to feel lull, 17 hours after the previous night’s sleep. Napping generally was called “catching a few winks.” As a child the statement made me question who in their right mind would wink at a desk. I knew that when a person winked at me with one eye, it meant they were flirting. Call it what you may, the real difference between catching a few winks and napping is, people are more self-conscious about being seen slobbering in public these days. Most people napping these days almost got it mastered — how to wake before they drool. It is also amazing to watch how people who are sound asleep on the E train in NYC know when it’s their stop. They say it’s because their body counts for them. It is the number of daily left to right jerks from routine motion that lets them know just when to wake up.
By the age of 35 to 40, women look more closely at themselves. They begin to check out the lines on their face. While they should be as interested in the rest of the body and the new character bulges that seem to appear as well, women seem to not be as concerned about those areas. One of the easiest aging lines to notice is a woman’s lips when she puckers. It isn’t as soft and smooth as it was when she was a teen. Once a lady asked me if I knew of any way to soften the lines when she puckers. So I told her a yummy way to fix it is to eat some honey. However, she didn’t understand that I meant honey, as in food. She seemed grateful for the knowledge, but she left in search of a bee. When she finally located one she killed it and ate the damn thing. It taught me a thing or two.
I told the women, “ let’s start over. Luscious, irresistible lips need to have moisture. There are many ways to do this. You can put a spoon of honey in your tea, smear some on toast, put some in your cereal, or rub it cross your lips.” The next time I saw her, her lips looked pretty good, but the rest of her looked awful. I asked her why she looked so beat. She said, “you’d be beat to if you kissed as many people as I have every day.” I asked her why she was kissing all those people.
She said, “I told everyone if you’re over 35 years old and you don’t want to have lips with lines, spread honey on them. Then every day I kiss as many as I can.”
“Why do you do that?” I asked.
She replied, “cause honey so damn expensive.”