By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Tomatoes have always possessed a Zen type of quality for my family.
Many family discussions have occurred in the garden while working with the tomatoes.
Dreams, aspirations, and goals were all discussed under the cover of tolling the soil.
And to this day I remember those wonderful discussions with my father, one on one, as we worked the soil, our relationship, and family unite.
When I had children, twins to be exact, I decided that I wanted that type of life for my children. Fresh air, clean living, and the freedom to spread one’s wings without fringing onto the rights of others were life gifts I wanted to give my children. But life’s path did not steer that way so I had to be creative in creating those special gardening moments. Gardening in a wading pool was the first experience my kids had with gardening.
Next container gardening and then onto full fletch gardening in the ground. My daughter especially loved this type of gardening since we would plant her favorite type of tomatoes that is cherry. And when she was little she would take full advantage of these cherry tomatoes along with her Easter basket. She used to sneak out the backdoor and pick her fill of the taste balls.
She did not discriminate red, yellow, green were all her favorites and she picked until her basket was full. Back then the humor I had for my little cherry tomato picker was limited but now every time I plant those beloved cherry tomatoes I think of her with a tisket, a tasket, a bright and yellow basket full of cherry tomatoes.
Today I still garden and my dad does some container gardening but we still walk sown the garden lane when we eat tomato soup. My mom, who just recently passed away, while not one to work in the vegetable garden much also made a wonderful memory —inducing food and it was her world famous stewed tomatoes. I would like to share with you 2 recipes for these dishes. While these dishes are simple, country food they evoke many good memories of the farm, people past and present, and how things used to be or should be.
Don’s Homemade Tomato Soup
- 1 quart home canned tomatoes
- 1-cup water or less depending on thickness of soup desired
For cream of Tomato Soup you will need 8 oz. of cream cheese and/or milk to replace water amount
1. Puree tomatoes in blender and pour in saucepan.
2. Add water. If making cream of tomato soup add cream cheese and/or milk.
3. Heat thoroughly and enjoy.
This soup is great with a grilled cheese sandwich for a vegetarian flare or a grilled ham and Swiss cheese sandwich for the omnivore in the family.
Betty’s Stewed Tomatoes
- 1 quart home canned tomatoes
- 2 slices of dried out bread
- 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
1. Place tomatoes in saucepan and break up.
2. Mix in sugar to taste and heat.
3. While tomatoes are heating cube bread and place in tomatoes.
4. Once heated enjoy.
This is a great side dish, snack or a light lunch accompanied by a salad.
Many people believe in the healing power of chicken soup for a cold but nothing beats a steaming, hot bowl of homemade tomato soup or stewed tomatoes to cleanse the gardener’s soul. So this year find your Zen tomato comfort food and enjoy the memories it cooks up. And when you find that tomato comfort food do not forget to record it and share it. Recipes, just like photos, become a family legacy that will be treasured for many generations to come.
So until we blog again remember the world would be a much better place if we all grew tomatoes and watched them grow from our collective front porch swing.