I Believe in Isaac

The End of the Great Tomato Debate

Posted in Uncategorized by isaacmcphee on November 20, 2008

I think I write a new note on this topic about once a year, but when you’re passionate about something and people don’t seem to be paying attention, it’s best to just continue to reiterate your perspective until everyone simply agrees with you out of pure exasperation.

So, are tomatos fruits or are they vegetables?

Maybe you didn’t think it WAS a great debate; but indeed it was (though now it’s pretty much over), and if you took the side that tomatos are actually fruits, I’m afraid you’ve backed the wrong taxonomical horse. In fact, you’ve backed a horse which has been dead for one hundred sixteen years and is nothing more than skeletal remains in some horse graveyard… and maybe some glue.

The arguments in my favor are practically endless: A tomato is a vegetable because it tastes like a vegetable. It is a vegetable because it is stuck in the vegetable section at the supermarket. It is a vegetable, quite simply, because it is everything a vegetable is.

In fact, ask any child who has not been tainted by the (almost criminal) lies of big botany and they’ll gladly tell you that a tomato is a vegetable, and that anyone who believes they hold any similarities to a fruit should probably have their head examined – for complete madness is not far.

My great-great-great grandfather on my father’s mother’s side was Mr. Alexander Livingston – the founder of A.W. Livingtston & Co. (http://www.saveseeds.org/biography/livingston/history.html) and one of the greatest Tomato growers this nation has ever known. If only by way of simple genetics, I have tomatos in my blood, along with oxygen, red and white blood cells, plasma, hemoglobin and whatnot. Because of that I can say this with confidence: I know my tomatos, and they are vegetabalic in nature.

Some more things to think about:
Ever find a tomato in your fruit cocktail? If you did would you complain? Ever find a tomato-flavored fruit roll-up? Would you buy them if they existed?

Still unconvinced? Hardly surprising. We are a hard-hearted and onerous generation, unwilling to accept on faith even something so obvious as this? But if we cannot have faith about the little things, what hope have we of ever coming to believe in the big things?

I can only say as a final argument (though not because I have run out of arguments, but because the length of this note has grown disproportionately long to my attention span) that I have public policy on my side. In fact, I have the Supreme Court, who under the humble guidance of Chief Justice Melville Weston Fuller (a man not to be trifled with, evident by the size of his mustache alone) ruled in Nix v. Heddon (1893) that, “The court takes judicial notice of the ordinary meaning of all words in our tongue, and dictionaries are admitted not as evidence, but only as aids to the memory and understanding of the court. Tomatoes are “vegetables,” and not “fruit,” within the meaning of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, c. 121″ (http://supreme.justia.com/us/149/304/case.html). A decision which has yet to be overturned, despite the overwhelming majority of books, media and public schools who have apparently taken up the opposing cause, despite having little to no evidence to back up their claims (and no, the word of a botanist does not count as evidence).

Quod erat demonstratum.

Opposing arguments are welcomed.

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  1. Mr WordPress said, on November 20, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.


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