A Wise Recipe
Joel is my “cousin in law” from the Midwestern side of my family. He’s a gifted artist who works in a number of different mediums, and I really appreciate the decorative tile work that he did for us that we have set in the walls of our kitchen; one tile showing a carrot, another a green onion. Joel lives in rural Minnesota and I am pretty much pinned down to my plot of ground here on the left coast, but I follow his progress on social media. Sometimes, besides posting photos or updates about his artwork or family he will re-post memes of a social or political nature, and I am usually amused by them or share the sentiment that they seek to convey. But sometimes Joel will take his taste for socialist inspired messages entirely too far. Recently he posted a meme about the differences between knowledge, wisdom and philosophy that really grated on me and I thought I might reach out and contact him personally, but then I decided that since these distinctions are important and affect us all I would address all of you with my concerns and cc Joel. The offending meme runs as follows:
“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Philosophy is wondering if putting it in a Bloody Mary counts as a smoothie.”
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!. I’m a tomato farmer, so I have a dog in this fight. Plus, once-upon-a-time in a previous life I got a degree in Western Philosophy. True, a philosophy degree does not convey any privileged insights into the value or meaning of ultimate reality, but if a student pays attention in class and reads the material they’ve been assigned they can learn how to act as though they have witnessed the mysteries revealed. I did my homework, so I feel confident “laying it on thick,” and here’s what I know about truth, knowledge, wisdom and tomatoes.
It’s true that the tomato is a fruit. If you have a hard time with that fact then you probably won’t accept that the palm tree is a grass or that the pumpkin is a berry, or that climate change is real. In that case, this essay isn’t for you.
It’s not true that “Wisdom is NOT putting a tomato in a fruit salad,” At one time in life I would have agreed with that sentiment, but time and experience have taught me that the tomato can be a fantastic component in a fruit salad, and that having “wisdom” is having the willingness to learn from experience and accept facts as real, even when they contradict dearly held prejudices. Opening oneself up to the potential validity of tomatoes in a fruit salad can be an example of living philosophically. Better yet, MAKE a fruit salad with tomatoes and learn. The Spanish language can be revealing in this instance. In Spanish the verb “saber,” meaning “to know,” is the same word as the verb “to taste.” The word “savory” in English is cognate with “saber” in Spanish. The old frontier/cowboy expression- “you savvy?” is a degraded, anglicized version of the Spanish phrase “Sabe Usted?” meaning, “do you get it?” Fruit salad can be savory, as well as cloyingly sweet. Here’s a recipe for a savory fruit salad that celebrates the tomato as a fruit.
1: Split open a watermelon and cut the flesh into bite-sized cubes and dump them in a large bowl.
2. Lightly salt the watermelon cubes. I use our Mariquita herb salt to give the salad some extra kick.
3. Slice up a bunch of tomatoes and toss them in with the watermelon.
4. Mince up a red onion and stir that in too.
5. Juice several limes or lemons and pour the juice in with the fruit.
6. Chop up several cucumbers too and add them.
7. Drizzle in some olive oil to taste and stir it around,
8. Cube up some Feta cheese and mix that in too.
9. Taste the juice that has collected in the bowl as the salt and citrus juice provokes the tomatoes melons and cucumbers release liquid and adjust for flavor, If the juice is too bland add more lime juice.
10. Chill the watermelon/tomato fruit salad and serve. Your guests will agree you are a smart cook and if they’re wise they’ll be able to make this salad themselves in the privacy of their own homes.
Oh…. and yeah, the Bloody Mary is a smoothie. And we have jars of delicious Dry Farmed Early Girl Tomato Juice for sale on our website. Don’t miss it, it really is the Platonic Ideal of tomato juices.
Andy and the Crew at Mariquita Farm
© 2022 Essay by Andy Griffin
Photos by Andy Griffin and Starling Linden