You say tomato… I say too many
“Look! I bring the fruits from the harvest of our gardening efforts,” Husband-Head said proudly, as he dumped at least 10 pounds of tomatoes on the kitchen counter.
I looked at the tomatoes with mixed emotions. Part of me thought it was very cool that we had all this good, healthy food from our garden.
The other part of me thought, “What the HELL are we going to do with all these flippin’ tomatoes?”
“And there’s more!” Husband-Head said excitedly. “Here’s a whole bunch of jalapeños!”
All we needed now was some corn tortilla trees and we were all set for our own Mexican restaurant…
There was only one problem.
“Honey, you don’t even LIKE tomatoes,” I pointed out as he dumped yet another load on the counter. “But you better not cop that attitude, because your happy butt is going to be eating tomatoes non-stop for the next several weeks.”
Husband-Head did not agree.
“No, I just grow them,” he said defensively. “I never said I wanted to actually EAT them.”
Later in the evening, he sat at his bar in the man cave watching football and asked if I could make him a snack.
“Well of course, honey,” I said with a smile, “Why don’t I make you a nice bowl of healthy tomato chips instead of potato chips?”
Husband-Head looked rather disgusted.
“Or how about some baked tomato chicken wings or frozen yogurt smothered in a fresh tomato fruit sauce?”
Husband-Head was starting to looking like he was going to gag.
“Hey…YOU were the one that grew all these suckers,” I said defensively. “I’m just trying to figure out how to use them so they don’t go to waste.”
Husband-Head was silent for a moment before coming up with an idea.
“You know, Charlie likes them a lot…” he said hopefully. “He thinks they’re just a whole bunch of red ball toys.”
Actually, our 1-year-old yellow Labrador thought EVERYTHING was a potential toy and should be chewed up, including the leather couch, the comforters on the bed, all the shoes, the hair brushes, the hair dryer and the head of our other dog, a 5-year-old Cockapoo.
“Maybe we could just huck the tomatoes at the dog whenever he starts doing something bad,” I suggested.
“No, you are not going to do that,” Husband-Head reproached. “That’s mean.”
I tried to think of other things we could do with our overabundance of the juicy red fruit.
“We could give them away at Halloween instead of candy!” I said, thinking I’d come up with a novel idea. “It would be a nice, healthy thing to promote good nutrition and wellness in our community.”
Now Husband-Head looked horrified.
“For one, the tomatoes would be all rotten and mushy by the end of October,” he said, shaking his head. “And secondly, the kids would be mad and they’d just huck ‘em right at the house. It would be a huge mess.”
I was running out of ideas. If we couldn’t throw them, we’d just have to resolve to eat them.
“I could make jars and jars of my homemade marinara sauce and we could eat pizza and pasta for the next six months,” I suggested lamely.
Husband-Head didn’t look thrilled about that idea, either.
So I called a girlfriend to ask her advice.
“You make stuff and then you freeze it, silly!” she said with a laugh. “That’s why they make freezers, duh.”
Except there was just one problem.
“My freezer is already full,” I confessed. “In fact, all three of the freezers are full.”
My friend stopped laughing for a moment.
“You really do have a shopping problem, my friend,” she said. “Not just with clothes and shoes, but with food.”
I bit my tongue not to lash out that I’d rather have a new pair of shoes than a frozen jar of tomato sauce any day of the week.
In the end, I decided to start giving them away to people who didn’t have a garden.
This idea Husband-Head liked.
“That makes more sense than overdosing on them or throwing them,” he agreed.
But I had one stipulation.
“Can you maybe NOT plant 3 million tomato plants next year?” I asked.
“Plant something useful — like $100 bills.”
Heidi Rice’s column appears every week in the Citizen Telegram and Sundays in the Post Independent.
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