Monday, September 17, 2012

Green Balls

As Southern as I am, there are some typically Southern foods that I simply did not grow up eating.  For example, collard greens and stewed tomatoes never, ever, ever made an appearance in our house.  And neither did fried green tomatoes.  The collards and stewed tomatoes were banished because my mom hated them, therefore, she wasn't going to cook them.  Makes sense if you think about it.  But the green tomatoes?  I don't remember any talk about either she or my dad being opposed to fried greens.  In fact, growing up I never heard anybody talk about this dish.  I never even heard of it until the movie came out. 

Even after the film, it was still a few years before I came across them in a restaurant.  Actually, it was the original Rockaway's that was serving them and I had to try it out.  I was instantly hooked.  Whoever was working in their kitchen at the time was the fried green tomato guru.  They were thin, but not so thin that you couldn't taste the tomato, which made them crazy crispy...which is a good thing, of course.  And, they had lots of cracked pepper in the batter which added to their fabulosity.  (I think I just invented that word.)

So, anyway, what does this have to do with my title?  

Nope, that's not it

Nope, nope, nope
I think that perhaps I was somehow destined to become an addicted lover of the fried green tomato.  When I was about 3 or 4, my dad planted a little garden in the backyard.  He had a bumper crop of tomatoes in the making.  He was quite proud of this stand of plants and excited about all the fruit it was producing.  Interestingly, my dad doesn't like tomatoes.  Oh, he'll eat cooked stuff like spaghetti, vegetable soup, pizza, etc. but raw tomatoes are not his deal. At All.  However, like all good Southerners, he planted them and has done so every year of my entire life.  

Now picture this:  toddler/pre-schooler out in the backyard playing, frolicking and generally being a cute little bundle of joy.  Now picture this: tall, leafy plants brimming with green balls.  I ask you, what little kid doesn't love balls?  You see where this is going I bet.  So, after a little work, I toddled up the back stairs to very excitedly summon mom and dad to come see.  "Come quick, come see!"  I took them out to the garden and beaming with pride showed them my enormous stack of green balls.  "Green balls!!" I exclaimed. 

Yep, that's it!
I don't remember exactly, but I think my dad may have shed a tear. Not sure because I believe my mom quickly ushered me inside to shelter me from any possible tomato-related wrath.

Fast forward to now.  I love fried green tomatoes.  I make them at home.  I order them in restaurants.  I've even had them at Paula Deen's place in Savannah.  (Yes, I admit I've been there.  But, I assure accent is real and unexaggerated!)  For the longest time, the only way to get green tomatoes was to grow your own and pick them at the "green ball" stage.  However, they have started showing up in grocery stores and last week, I found a plethera of them at the farmer's market.  Happy, happy, joy, joy.  We bought about four of them and fried those babies up!  Even though I caused my dad some heartache all those years ago, I think that whole experience was just foreshadowing of my green tomato infatuation.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I still grow them, just for you. Dad



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