Episode 270: Great Tomatoes of World History

1:13:17
 
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Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson of Salem County, New Jersey Joseph T. Buckingham, editor of the Boston Courier in the 1830s, had a way with invective: The mere fungus of an offensive plant which one cannot touch without an immediate application of soap and water with an infusion of eau de cologne, to sweeten the hand…O ye caterers of luxuries, ye gods and godesses of the science of cookery! Deliver us from tomatoes. You have to wonder what Buckingham said about politicians. Everything has a history, and that includes tomatoes. For when Buckingham wrote his anti-tomato diatribe, not very coincidentally the United States was in the midst of tomato-eating health craze that included (for some) the consumption of life-enhancing tomato pills; while in that very year, Italians persisted in eating pasta that had been cooked in broth for as much as hour before being tossed with pork lard and eaten by hand. These and other excellent facts are found in William Alexander’s Ten Tomatoes That Changed the World: A History. His previous books include The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden. For Further Investigation If you haven't already listened to it, find out more about Dr. Wiley and his crusade for pure food in my conversation with Jonathan Reese; for a discussion that busted lots of myths regarding food, and how we came to eat things the way we do, see the conversation with Rachael Laudan Bill Alexander's website The Tomato Pill Craze New York Times article on the GMO tomato Andrew Smith, Pure Ketchup: A History of America's National Condiment, with Recipes Massimo Mortinari, A Short History of Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce: The Unbelievable True Story of the World's Most Beloved Dish

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