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Aug 11, 2008 07:18 PM

You say tomato I say tamato.

The red plump like fruit which is known as “plump thing with navel” can be traced back as early as 700 AD to the Aztecs called Xitomatl pronounced Shi-to-ma-tlh. But it is thought to be native to America.

Originally in Britain it was believed to be poisonous a lot similar to the wolf peach, it is also in the same family as the deadly night shade. The English word for tomato comes from the Spanish word tomatl, first appearing in print in 1595.
It has been said that wealthy people ate a lot of their meals on pewter which has high-lead content. Foods high in acid made the lead leak, causing food poisoning and even death. The poor could only afford to eat from wooden kitchenware and it never affected them.
In 1880 the mass immigration from Europe to America brought the Italians who were and are to this day renowned for their tomato dishes. The invention of the pizza in Naples 1880 was created by a restaurateur to celebrate a visit from Queen Margarite. He is known to have made a pizza comprising of Basil, Tomato’s and Mozzarella, now known as Pizza Margarite.
As much of the red rich history this fruit has had a lot of confusion, be it fruit or vegetable considering the palate and where it originated from one thing is for sure it will always be in our recipes.

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  1. Interesting about that thing with pewter. I wonder if that is where it had the reputation of being deadly or just because it is part of the night shade family.

    Here's some more interesting factoids about tomatoes in Chow ingrediants along with links to Chow recipes for tomatoes.

    From that link I never heard the term “cat-facing,” dark streaks radiating from the stem end of the tomato, a result of cold mornings

    Also didn't realize yellow tomatoes were less acidic.