Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Celebrating the End of Tomato Season with David Gentilcore's "Pomodoro!"

What a sweet tomato season it has been here in upstate New York. All of our garden tomato plants, from plums to supersteaks to golden heirloom varieties, have been heavy with fruit, unlike last year's blighted crop. Dan and I have thoroughly enjoyed our morning tomato sandwiches, our tomato salads, and we've sung as we've cooked down pots of tomato sauce and slow-roasted Romas overnight to pop into jars with olive oil and basil for the fridge.

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, we can't love them enough. And to celebrate the season, I was able to share some review copies of a great new tomato history book with some blogger buddies. Columbia University Press graciously offered me the opportunity to review Professor David Gentilcore's new book "Pomodoro! The History of the Tomato in Italy". Some of my blogger friends from around the world joined me in reviewing the book and cooking up some glorious tomatocentric recipes which I am summarizing below:

On the island of Crete, Maria of Organically Cooked relates how important the tomato is to Greek cuisine and to her household in particular. She shared a common incredulity with the other bloggers about how recently tomatoes were integrated into Mediterranean cooking and notes that the Cretan tomato growing season lasts six months. Lucky Maria! Tomatoes are the "background note" in many of her meals and she gives us a taste with her recipe for a rustic and garlicky grated tomato sauce for dipping bread slices into or topping on toast or rusks.

Veering north to Athens, where Jo of Foodjunkie, Not Junk Food lives, blogs and cooks, oven-roasted tomatoes were on the menu. Jo relished the book and decided to spend the time slow-roasting plum tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. She enjoys these tomato gems with bread and cheese and also uses them to liven up sauces for meats and pasta.

Off to Ontario, Canada for our next Pomodoro blog post... Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies enoyed the book's history lessons about the Great Depresssion, art, Fascism, colonialism, and other topics and decided to make some Stuffed Roma Tomatoes to wrap up her book review.

Over in England, Foodycat also enjoyed the way the author wove in various historical themes with the food history and recipes, and was inspired to make a whole range of delights using her garden tomatoes, including roasted cherry tomato and basil sauce, pomodorini pelati, and a sexy tomato and goats cheese tart.

The Pomodoro Party includes the classic tomato-basil-mozzarella combo of Caprese Salad which emanated from Kahakai Kitchen in Hawai'i. Deb really enjoyed the sprinkling of historical Italian tomato recipes and has bookmarked some to enjoy later.

To round things off here in upstate New York at The Crispy Cook, I thoroughly enjoyed my ride through tomato history with Pomodoro! and enjoyed doing a little side research on the commedia dell'arte and Neapolitan street foods. I tried out a new canning recipe for Tomato Barbecue Sauce to cap off my post.

One more blogger buddy, Simona of Briciole, will be posting a review about Pomodoro! in the near future, and it will be interesting to see what this Italian-born kitchen master will think of the book!

Thank you to Columbia University Press for sending us all copies of Pomodoro! to review and thank you to all my foodie buddies for sharing their thoughts and tomato recipes with us all!


Mediterranean kiwi said...

we all seem to do the same things with tomatoes - where would we be without them?

thanks for the opportunity to learn so many surprising things about this humble plant

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Lovely round-up! Hooray for the tomato!!

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a delicious book. Nothing I love more than history and food. Off to visit all the tributes to tomatoes. Our season in Ohio had some pretty spectacular tomatoes, too.

Debinhawaii said...

Wonderful round-up--it all looks delicious. Thanks for letting me join in! The book a was fun and educational read. ;-)

Foodjunkie said...

Great roundup as always! I think the timing of the book was so perfect, just when tomatoes are plenty and flavoursome.

girlichef said...

Oh, everything looks so wonderful...I really wish I had been able to get my hands on a copy of this book, I couldn't find it anywhere around me! Lovely roundup =)