Tomato Troubles

l.i.c., ny

Today I caught up on the phone with my old friend Carrie who I hadn't talked to in years. Facebook made sure that we were up to date on the basics like where we lived, what we did for a living and how we had changed in the last five years, so we launched right into the gritty details.

"How do you create recipes for a living and not weigh 300 pounds?" she asked.

"I’m married to a man who peddles about 300 miles a week, which is his way of taking it easy after giving up ultra distance marathons and iron mans.” I explained. “It sort of rubs off.”

"What a coincidence, that's how I spend my time." She said. I had missed her sense of humor.

"So, he makes you work out?"

"Sort of. He encourages it."

András is a big believer in the mental benefits of a hard, physical workout, like a stress-relieving, mind-clearing, pore unclogging run. I find yoga and gardening to be exhilarating.

Recently, in National Geographic Adventure, I read an article about the secrets of long life written by a former long-distance cyclist {he’s ridden 15,5000 miles at a time} who spent the last few years traveling to Sardinia, Okinawa, Costa Rica and Loma Linda to study some of the worlds healthiest humans. When asked what kinds of activities tack on years, he said:

One of the greatest activities is growing a garden…it requires physical activity to till the land, weed, water, harvest, fertilize. It’s there as a constant reminder to do a little bit of regular activity. And you emerge with organic vegetables.

That was enough to convince me I was on the right track. But then there is the annoying detail that skinny jeans are still in style, so occasionally I partake in a vigorous run myself.

Other times, I just put on my running clothes, which makes me feel fit and fabulous, and has the added benefit of convincing András that I’m on board.

I explained this philosophy to Carrie.

"I love how you're starting you relationship on based on honesty. That’s great.” She said.

“Oh, I never actually lie,” I explained.

Take last night for example. I put on my running gear with the full intention of going out for a good sweat fest. On the way, I decided I'd just swing by the garden first and check on the tomatoes, since you really can't go a day in August without one ripening. And if you don’t get a tomato when it’s ripe, the birds or the bugs or the neighborhood thug just might get to it first. When I got there, to my surprise there wasn't just one tomato ready, there were three beefsteak tomatoes, plus a handful of sun golds and five tiny red cherry tomatoes. I loaded them up in the bag I'd brought the compost in, and tried to imagine how the poor tomatoes would feel about bouncing about in that little bag while I pounded the pavement in circles just so I could fit into some ridiculous fashion trend.

I explained this to her.

“One can’t run with tomatoes,” I said.

"Obviously, I totally get your logic." She said. I love a friend who understands me.

What one can do is take those tomatoes straight home and slice them up thinly, sprinkle them with sea salt and let them sit aside while they toast a few slices hearty 7-grain bread in a skillet with a little butter or olive oil. Then, they might want to quickly sweat the sweet purple scallions they got at the farmer's market in a little more olive oil, while they fry a fresh organic egg in another pan nearby. Then one might want to layer all of this on the toasted bread, and set it out on the table just in time to welcome their friend or roommate or husband or personal trainer home.

Then, it's likely the topic of a workout won't even come up at all. So, as you see, there is no lying involved. Just a good old-fashioned, open-faced fried egg sandwich eating.


Rebekka said...

Well. Now I know what I'm having for supper.

Mollie said...

again, with the tomatoes and cheese. who can say no to a meal like this? I like your logic on the running with tomatoes. much better 'exercise' to make this delicious meal!

However, I do like my skinny jeans.

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.