It's usually September when I head to the Farmers' Market to buy ugly tomatoes. I buy a box of them. I pick the ugly tomatoes because they're cheaper and looks are not as important as what's on the inside. I buy a big box of the ugliest heirloom tomatoes and then, with a full bag of fresh produce already balanced on one shoulder, I finagle my way back to my car while mumbling to myself that I can make it with out dropping this box. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Once I'm home, I repeat the process because why make more than one trip from car to house? Then I spend all day Sunday roasting tomatoes. I wash and cut the tomatoes in half, slather them with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, throw in some smashed garlic and rosemary and basil and then roast them at 350 for two hours. Then I package them up in quart sized freezer bags and freeze for tomato soup and spaghetti sauce.
It is October now and I realized that I never made it to the Farmers' Market to buy tomatoes. I thought I would just skip it this year. We didn't end up using all the tomatoes I roasted last year. Michael is not as keen on tomato soup as I am. When I mention it, he makes a face, but when I make it he eats it right up and asks for more. So I didn't really feel like making up batches of roasted tomatoes this year. Then sometime last week, Michael came in from the garden with a bounty of green tomatoes. I placed them in the window to ripen and Tuesday night Michael noticed that all of them had turned red. He said something about it and I told him that I was going to roast them. It was then decided that the tomatoes wouldn't last until the weekend to be roasted. So I washed them. I sliced off the tops and cut them half. I slathered them with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I tossed in some smashed garlic, rosemary and basil and I roasted two trays of tomatoes.
And I realized that the real reason for roasting the tomatoes is not for the soup that they will become. It is the ritual of the roasting. The action of putting the tomatoes together to be roasted is like walking a meditation labyrinth. The oils from the herbs, cling to my hands and I smell of rosemary and basil. It doesn't take long for these scents to fill the house. In fact, it doesn't take long for the whole house to smell like it belongs to an Italian grandmother preparing Sunday dinner for her family. The oven heats up the house, making it feel warm and cozy inside. Homey. Roasting tomatoes makes everything feel homey. I had not planned on roasting those tomatoes until the weekend. It seemed like too much work for a week night. I think all of us can relate. Weeknights are for quickly slapping together a meal to be eaten while watching TV and just sitting after a long day. Weeknights make it easy to forget that the true heart of a home is the kitchen.
I found my heart. Happy Love Thursday!