It’s hot outside, but I decided to go for a long run. My motivation: This amazing club sandwich with farmers market tomatoes and greens on multi-seed bread. Chef B’friend made it out of the leftover Quorn “turkey” roast I made last night. He placed it on the counter. I knew it was going to be so delicious, I needed to earn the right to eat its mastery.
I thought, “Yeah, I can do the usual path from my apartment in Harlem down the west side of Central Park, but I want to get out of my comfort zone.” My usual path takes me right down the C and B train line. When I get exhausted, I can just pop on the train, and it will take me back to my nice apartment in an air conditioned thing that I don’t even have to drive. I can just sit and drink water and feel safe.
I decided I’d run more east, hit up the top of the park (which I hadn’t really explored) and work my way across the park to get back to the subway home. My sandwich motivation will carry me through this hardship of newness… like a tasty, tasty overexposure filling my view for the final mile.
I headed out the door with my purple Yurbuds earphones connected to my iPhone connected to my armband. My phone was running the Nike+ Running app, which I use to be ridiculously competitive with my friends. I was also wearing my Nike FuelBand, which I also use to be ridiculously competitive with the friends I have left. I had my Lululemon headband on. Most likely, I had it on upside down (as I am known to do), so I probably looked stupid. (But, seriously. If any of you New York women judge anyone else on the positioning of their Lululemon logos… you need to be deported off the island.) I had my pink SPIbelt on to carry my MTA card, a few bucks, and my house key. (It’s like a tiny fannypack of awesomeness.) Finally, I had my running sunglasses and lots of sunscreen on.
I cut across the more eastern part of Harlem and eventually hit the top of Central Park.
I saw trees and a lake!
I saw a path to run around the lake!
I saw albino ducks!
I saw a mommy and baby turtle set!
I saw a man walking his two turtles on a leash in the sand!
No, really, I saw a man walking his two turtles ON A LEASH in the man-made sand portion of the lake. I couldn’t get a picture because my entire life was suspended into that moment of ridiculousness, and I cared naught for technological trifles on which to document it at that particular time.
As I predicted, I had to think HARD about The Sandwich Who Cometh to get through the last part of the run around the lake. But, I did it. (Yay.)
The part of Central Park that I was in today has plenty of public water fountains to stay hydrated. As I exited the park and was about to get on the subway, I saw a Subway (sandwich shop) where I could buy some more water because I unexpectedly needed it.
Fine, I go in. Grab H2O. Feel guilty about buying a plastic bottle. Wait in line to purchase said water. Then, I saw this atrocity:
Those are NOT tomatoes. Well, they are. But they are the ghosts of tomatoes. Barely even recognizable, ersatz tomatoes. These poor counterfeits are mass-produced and lack flavor. And color. And texture. And everything that makes them a tomato EXCEPT for the shape.
That’s important. The shape.
In the 1940’s, food producers began to notice people preferred to buy round, smooth tomatoes. They also preferred red tomatoes without spots. Like modern humans do with anything commercial, the farmers began to “breed” the tomatoes so that they all came out the same. This multiplied on a large scale once mass-production of food met politics.
Here’s the problem: The genetic mutation that made all the fruit the same also disrupted the production of a sugar-creating protein in the fruit. Hence, they taste of cardboard. (See this article from the LA Times.)
For food corporations: cheap input on a massive scale = large profits
For us: cheap input on a massive scale = flavorless and harmful food.
Am I saying don’t eat at Subway? Nope. I love to “Eat Fresh” every once in a while. It’s not just them… it’s just about every restaurant and food joint you could imagine. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the tomatoes others serve are going to give you the kind of nutritional awesomeness that a REAL tomato will.
Back to my story: I paid for my water, ran to the MTA subway, got back into my apartment, and spoke sweet words of thanks to my club sandwich’s real tomatoes. Then I ate the hell out of it.
Where do YOU get your tomatoes from? Did YOU realize our food producers lie to us? Leave a comment!