The Love Apple

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Photo by Eraphernalia Vintage.

Of all the aphrodisiacs I’ve written about and researched, I confess the tomato did not make the cut. Oh I love tomatoes and my favorite thing to eat in the summer is a sandwich consisting of slices of the tomatoes I’ve grown myself. But when Christopher Columbus introduces the tomato to Europe, it was called the love apple—some called it the apple of paradise. He brought in to them from Venezuela, where he thought he’d found the Garden of Eden. It was terrifying to the Europeans because it was so similar to the mandrake. So the tomato was snubbed for years by well-meaning Christians. It wasn’t until the mid-1700s that it gained acceptance–mostly in Italy. I’ve been reading “In the Devil’s Garden”  by Stewart Lee Allen. In it, about the tomato in those days, writes: “the Love Apple, dripping in unctuous juices and seeds, soft and delicious, inviting the unwary to bit into its harlot-red flesh and let the juices flow, was an entirely different class of being:  immoral, lascivious, and decidedly un-Christian.  All that said, I find myself rethinking the tomato. heh.

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