Synopses & Reviews
From the Americas to Australasia, from northern Europe to southern Africa, the tomato tickles the world's taste buds. In the United States alone, more than twelve million tons of tomatoes are devoured annually. This peculiar fruit has variously been considered poisonous, curative, and aphrodisiacal. Herbalists have associated it with the "golden apple" of classic Greek texts, while Mayans and other Mesoamerican peoples used it in their cookery.
In this first concerted study of the tomato in America, Andrew F. Smith separates myth from historical fact, beginning with the Salem, New Jersey, man who, in 1820, allegedly attracted spectators from hundreds of miles to watch him eat a tomato on the courthouse steps (the legend says they expected to see him die a painful death). Later, hucksters such as Dr. John Cook Bennett and the Amazing Archibald Miles peddled the tomato's purported medicinal benefits. The competition was so fierce that the Tomato Pill War broke out in 1838.
The Tomato in America traces the early cultivation of the tomato and its spread from cities along the coast and inland waterways to rural areas more conservative in their willingness to try new foods. Smith explores the fruit's infiltration of American cooking practices, the early manufacture of preserved tomatoes and ketchup (soon hailed as "the national condiment of the United States"), and the "great tomato mania" of the 1820s and 1830s. The book also includes tomato recipes from the pre -- Civil War period, covering everything from sauces, soups, and main dishes to desserts and sweets.
Now available for the first time in paperback, The Tomato in America provides a piquant and entertaining look at a versatileand storied figure in culinary history.