Good tomatoes might make election, drought endurable

What’s going on? Let’s see. It’s the end of the old month, the beginning of the new – and both July and August are named for Roman emperors.


Speaking of empire-builders, the elections are upon us. For better or worse, but usually worse. I’ll be glad that the men and women with offensive campaigns will no longer have a reason to call me at home – unless the offensive ones survive the primaries.

Then there’s the general election in November. Fall campaigns sure do mess up the new prime-time shows, don’t they? The public airwaves won’t be back to normal until we have a winner. Or, more likely, 300 million losers.

The Olympics are upon us, too, and at this early stage I’ve enjoyed more of the action than I would have thought.

Archery, fencing, swimming, volleyball. And that was just the first day.

I can’t say, though, that I enjoyed the hokey bit in the opening ceremonies with the queen and the ugly bloke who passes himself off as James Bond.

What else is going on? The drought is not making any friends in my neighborhood, and the interminable heat wave puts me through several shirts a day.

I can’t say much for what the hot weather has done to my yard, either, but still we are enjoying a bumper crop of tomatoes at my house. My wife and I set out only a few plants this summer on the opposite side of the yard from where we have always planted because of a weed-killer accident, but the emergency plot has proved serendipitous.

The tomatoes have been coming in all sizes, all shades of red. I’m sure you will agree that there is nothing better than a slice of ripe, red tomato on a sandwich.

A couple of times, we didn’t bother waiting for our produce to ripen. My wife battered and fried some green tomato slices and we chowed down on a good old Southern side dish.

We’ve also been slicing the ripe tomatoes and layering them with fresh mozzarella cheese, then adding olive oil and chopped herbs from the garden plot, yielding a delicious caprese salad.

Being from the hills, I am not ashamed to admit that we ate this dish for years before we knew it had a name, and a foreign name at that. Being also curious, I now know it is named for the Italian island of Capri, whose name comes from a goat. (Capricorns also are goat-based. Sorry.)

Last week, we made a filling lunch out of toasting French bread, then rubbing the flesh of a ripe tomato on it and dipping it in olive oil flavored with basil and salt and pepper.

Another treat I’ve discovered is opening a hot biscuit and slipping a slice of tomato inside. It makes a good breakfast sandwich.

Well, I started off on current events and ended up trying to make you hungry for tomatoes. Go ahead, have a biscuit. You’ll need your energy to survive the election.