top of page

The Tomato is History

4 July 2023

Native to western South America and Central America, the tomato was discovered in 1519 by Hernán Cortés. That Spanish conquistador spotted the fruit (or vegetable), growing in the gardens of Montezuma, the ruler of the Aztecs. Some seeds were plundered and brought back to Spain by the conquistador, and then planted in fertile soil. The tomato was subsequently deemed an ornamental plant, and its fruit considered poisonous. Here in the U. S. of A., the Supreme Court in 1893 held 9-0 (that’s 9-zip) in Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 that the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit for financial reasons (tariffs, imports, customs). Never underestimate the profit motive in any lawsuit, especially one brought before the Supremes. When did the tomato become so edible that, in the 1980s, the American President Ronald Reagan categorized ketchup as a vegetable, in order to satisfy the ever-growing welfare state needs of the U.S. School Lunch Program?


Credit the Italians with that culinary and capitalistic coup. Most likely, the results were totally unplanned, and, thus, successful for the sons of Italy. The Italians swooped in on the Kingdom of Spain, making off with enough seeds to start a tomato empire back in that peninsula by the Mediterranean Sea. Due to the high acidic level of The Tomato, the berry of this plant takes well to canning. Ergo, Prego! In 1869, Joseph A. Campbell, a fruit merchant from Bridgeton, New Jersey; and Abraham Anderson, a manufacturer of iceboxes from South Jersey founded what would become, after the exit of Mr. Anderson in 1876, the Campbell Soup Company. Just to show there were no hard feelings between the capitalist investors, the son of Mr. Anderson, a man named Campbell, continued to work at this company as a creative director. Campbell came up with the original design of the Campbell Soup can.


The invention by Soup Mogul Joseph A. Campbell of the first CONDENSED tomato soup offered to Americans, everywhere, the ghastly lunch puree that I personally disdained during childhood. Adding milk to the already watered-down contents helped soothe the stuff down my throat. Adding Ronzoni pastina was my own delicious concoction, one that lasted until I replaced the soup with V-8 (which is also owned by Campbell’s); and I discovered the superior Barilla Pasta — and its wonderful orzo — in the 2000s. I ditched Ronzoni sono buoni for good. Ronzoni is now a subsidiary of Post Holdings, after having been acquired in 2021 by 8th Avenue Food and Provisions. Although that globalist gang-up might be in reverse order, or even out-dated by this date of 4 July 2023. Who can keep up with the mass-slaughter of marketing brands from childhoods? In January 2023, Ronzoni, mournfully, tearfully and with the publicized fanfare that accompanies yet another attempt at The Stampede Effect, is no longer manufacturing pastina. The Corporation claims:


“After extensive efforts, we regretfully announce that Ronzoni pastina is being discontinued. This wasn’t a decision that we wanted to make.” When globalist pigs fly, I’ll believe that one! Back to the tomato. Or forward to it. I presently find myself in need of a bottle of ketchup for today’s bbq-ed hamburgers, one other than that made by the Ketchup King, Mr. Heinz. (And I do not mean Jean-François Kerry, the Climate Czar.) I’d been using, since about 2012, a certain brand that has gone the way of just about every Indie Brand, be it food, makeup, clothing, hygiene, pet food.


It appears that — by the year 2010 — the high level of high fructose corn syrup in ketchup had become so abominable that a new recipe was needed. Enter the usual suspects, a group of clever Ivy League college kids (aka spoiled brats). They most profitably cashed in on the idea of manufacturing ketchup without the legitimately dreaded High Fructose Corn Syrup. The atrocious stuff can get a person as high as the now-legalized mood-altering drugs. I am not gonna name any names here, but, by the year 2017, this urban legend got his payout and payoff money from Unilever. That’s just seven years after the sell-off of the highly “original” organic and healthy non-GMO ketchup. Fast work! This ketchup is now defunct, or has been for a couple of years. I only recently found out this factoid. I’ve been busy! I ran out of ketchup and looked online to find out why I couldn’t find this product on store shelves. In today’s crashing-economy climate, one never knows why a certain commodity — or food — has vanished from plain sight!


A few weeks ago, poor Dear Husband couldn’t find any Barilla Orzo in stores, so he ordered 16 boxes online. Then he went to the supermarket (he tells me that I’ll get depressed if I go, and he’s right), and he found an entire shelf of the delectable pasta! I’ll be making lots of orzo salad this summer — with cucumber, herbs, and — TOMATOES. The news about the Millennial Ketchup King was an item that I discovered last week, online, as I diligently, with vigilance, climbed the News Food Chain. The info came from a two-year-old New York Post post. The pop-culture plagiarist site (also in New York City) wanted me to pay to access an article from 2021. This bunch of b.s. spewers also expects me to pony up for “news” articles from decades ago! I’d throw some tomatoes at the website, but it would be a waste of the tomatoes. Because the Tomato has become the most highly prized victim of the Boilerplate Excuse Form, which has been revised from citing an online selling platform as the reason for the stupid company’s demise. The head honcho of Millennial Greed, Inc. cited COVID, the International War, the drought in California, and three (3) years of inflation as the reasons why he could no longer keep up the capitalist fight for pure as the wind-driven rain non-GMO ketchup.


The entire new-company-that-cares scheme was built upon its buyout by a multi-national, or Globalist Pig, corporation. I’m getting to the point where I see this swinish set-up even before I get a gander at the New-and-Improved Product. The tomato in California is a much-revered commodity. I know of at least one individual who spends the entire spring nurturing those little seedlings in a hothouse, only to bring them out into the vast open spaces of the Sierra Nevada foothills, where Bucky the Deer eats his lunch. Big Tomato once ruled Sacramento, the capital of California. The Libby, McNeill, Libby cannery is a bygone memory, one that the current crop of citizens and non-citizens cannot even remember as having existed. Big Tomato is now world-wide, following the same trade route as that of Cortés. I hope the Italians come up with some good ketchup. My bbq’ed hamburgers are in dire need of it.


Comments


bottom of page