Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Splitties

Some of the tomatoes in our garden split on the vine before we can pick them. I did a little research and discovered that a lot of water at a time (say, for example, the torrential downpours we've been having this summer) can cause the fruit to swell quickly and crack. The skin around the fissure toughens a bit, but otherwise, these tomatoes are as tasty as any.

One of our roadtrip audiobooks this summer has been The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. For those who are unfamiliar, this is the first in a four part series (followed by The Pretties, The Specials, and The Extras) that takes place a couple of hundred years in the future. Some sort of bacteria that feeds on oil, both raw and refined, and then causes it to explode has brought about the demise of our civilization. We have been replaced by a group who is, on the surface, much more eco-friendly and politically correct then we ever were. One way that they ensure equality is by conducting extensive plastic surgery on every citizen once they reach the age of sixteen so that they will become one of the "Pretties." Before then people are known as "Littlies" until the age of twelve and then "Uglies" until their operations.

Obviously, two of Westerfeld's major considerations are nature and perfection. My mind wandered to the book this evening as I visited my garden after a week away. So often, we have an image of visual perfection in our mind that has nothing to do with what's best. Homegrown produce can be beautiful, but a lot of it is not quite fit for the grocery store. Despite its superior flavor, it doesn't always look flawless. No matter-- I took my splitties and went home to prepare a very pretty salad, and better still? It was delicious.