Throw in an odd shaped fruit and the excitment goes up a notch. To be honest we haven’t had too many odd shaped tomatoes over the years but we did have a humdinger back in 2008, ownership of which was claimed by the then 4 year old Middle Mudlet. This particular tomato had somehow managed to get itself trapped underneath a leaf stalk in its’ infancy and the force of trying to swell up and around the stalk, had caused the most amazing shape to emerge.
The development of this tomato was followed with interest by Middle Mudlet and when it was ready for picking she hopped from foot to foot in barely contained impatience, until, at last, she was able to hold it in her hand.
“Not going to eat it,” she declared and carefully took it back to the house where it spent the next day or so sitting in an egg cup so that the full glory or ‘Tommy the tomato’ could be appreciated and admired by all.
Tommy was a duck shaped tomato;
Tommy was, therefore, cute; so
Tommy, it transpired, was not for eating!
Okay! This was not good. Somehow I had to persuade Middle Mudlet that eating the tomato was the only thing to do because the alternative was to see it shrivel up into a horrible, squelchy and potentially moldy mess. I can’t exactly remember how we persuaded her to eat the tomato in the end, but it was eventually enjoyed with great relish after copious photographs were taken, so that she could look at them whenever she wanted to.
Up until this year, she had never asked to see the pictures but the memory of that tomato was obviously still firmly in her head because when it became apparent that we had another odd shaped tomato forming, she told Little Mudlet all about Tommy and asked if we had any pictures.
Mind you this years odd shape wasn’t anywhere near as dramatic and, to be honest, it probably wouldn’t have been commented on by anyone other than Little Mudlet because she is a girly girl. This years tomato had a very distinctive ‘Heart’ shape to it (which isn’t clearly shown in this picture) and, as such, was not Middle Mudlets’ cup of tea at all which probably made her declaration that …..
“It’s Little Mudlets turn for the odd tomato because I had the last one.”
….. much easier to say. I had been expecting all out war over ownership and had been quite prepared to act as Solomon and divide the fruit between the two of them.
So, as was the case with the four year old Middle Mudlet, her younger sister has been impatiently waiting for her tomato to turn red and, finally, on Monday, ‘D’ day arrived. Carefully supporting the truss stalk, she reached up and gave the tomato a little twist, followed by a gentle but firm tug and it came away. Beaming she held the precious fruit in her hand.
“Can I pick the others?” she asked and proceeded to carefully remove the other three, ripe tomatoes.
“That’s one each,” she said walking back to the house, where she and Middle Mudlet washed and ate their tomato.
No tears or tantrums from Little Mudlet.
No taking a dozen photo’s for posterity.
No displaying the curiosity for days to come.
No, a quick wash under the tap and into her mouth it went, still warm from the greenhouse and enjoyed in all its’ “can’t get any fresher than this” glory.
And there in, I believe, lies another example to how our way of thinking has altered and, in doing so, the way our girls think has changed. In 2008 we were very new to growing and everything was novel, so a duck shaped tomato was to be treated like a precious and rare find, to be cosseted and protected by the 4 year old Middle Mudlet. Now, 5 years on, and both Mudlets are accustomed to the idea that produce from the garden is not to be wasted. Instead it is to be enjoyed at, or frozen/pickled/preserved at its’ freshest,
No prevarication and so in the case of a tomato, regardless of its’ shape, wash and eat was the order of the day and Little Mudlet was more than happy to comply with that mandate.