I try very hard to avoid predictability. I chide myself when it happens, all the while ignoring the fact that everyone else is also constantly clawing their way out of predictability, rendering our collective efforts ultimately quite… predictable.
Not that I dislike predictability – it’s a necessary part of getting along in one’s life and structuring accordingly one’s more subversive, spontaneous activities. But it turns out I’m just now getting comfortable with that reality; with coexisting with predictability, and respecting it for its comforting – and yes, even restorative – properties.
Case in point: Tomato guts vinaigrette. Sneakily mellow and almost seductive in how good it is, here’s my true confession: I do not have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I have whisked this together in the last few months. When in doubt: tomato guts. When trying to impress: tomato guts. “Hay gra, what’s for dinner? OH WAIT, let me guess. Tomato guts.”
I learned about tomato guts vinaigrette about a year ago, when my good friend Anna told us of a mythical salad her stepmother, a kitchen goddess, “always feeds me when I’m being ornery.” Anna is a lovely creature and it’s hard to imagine her being ornery, but I won’t argue – if it weren’t for these supposed spells we would not be here today, lauding the virtues of tomato guts…
… To which, I must now explain, I had up until recently been quite averse. For years, I had endured the slings and arrows of outrageous shame: Being Italian and not liking fresh tomatoes. It wasn’t for lack of trying, certainly. But what my beloved grandfather would refer to as the gagoots (traditionally a slangy term for a zucchini, but you can see where, when cooked, their consistency might comparable to the boogery-ness of a tomato) would get the better of me every time – like many folks, it wasn’t so much the flesh itself as the texture of the goopy guts inside that I couldn’t handle. Thus began a self-driven regimen toward Liking Tomatoes, Or At Least Not Having to Be That Ass Who Has to Ask for Everything Without Them. Being an adventurous eater and having fun with food began to be an important project for me, and I just couldn’t see a future in foodie-ism without first reconciling myself with tomatoes.