Dear Dr. Bleedingheart,
I got married last June, and don’t get me wrong, we’re very happy. But lately I’ve made an awful discovery–my beloved hates tomatoes. Absolutely hates them. Won’t touch them, not on a sandwich, not in a salad, not even on a pizza. She says they’re slimy and disgusting and there’s no convincing her otherwise. She can hardly believe I want to take up space on our patio to grow some this year.
How could I have missed this when we were dating? Before we were married, I had visions of us strolling through the nursery, arm in arm, picking out tomato seedlings for our summer garden. Is there anything I can do? Is there any way to make a tomato hater into a tomato lover?
Tomatoless in Turlock
An adult tomato conversion is difficult, but not impossible. It requires patience and a willingness to sacrifice short-term gains for a long-term victory. Don’t force every restaurant sandwich tomato on her. Don’t guilt-trip her into trying your patio tomatoes as a way of testing her love for you.
Start slowly: during the first season, offer her one or two of the sweetest cherry or yellow pear tomatoes you can find, preferably sun-ripened and fresh off the vine. Let that memory linger until the next season, when you might invite the neighbors over for a barbeque and set out a plate of the best heirloom tomatoes: “Brandywine,” “Paul Robeson,” and–oh, I don’t know– “Green Zebra,” for instance, drizzled with a good, robust olive oil, shredded basil leaves, and salt and pepper. Serve it with some crusty bread and nothing else. If she’s hungry enough, she might just take a little nibble while you’re off firing up the grill.
Don’t rush her, and remember: every tomato she won’t eat is a tomato that will land on your plate instead. Sometimes, a little difference of opinion is good for a marriage.