Edward's farmer's market tomato.
In Cataluyna they rub garlic and smashed tomato on toasted bread. I was shown how to make this traditional appetizer at a party somewhere in the Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona. That part of the world is on the brain now and the memory of pan tumaca punta-tacos its way forward after Edward presents me with the above tomato at the farmer's market. It looks like it is wearing a tiny party hat, or dunce cap. I have just selected a hearty bread at the farmers market from the storefront-less Crumb Bakery, and we are hungry. At home, we make a late lunch, a gentler version of pa amb tomáquet/pan tumaca; there is no vigorous rubbing and no crushing, just slicing, drizzling and dipping. It is sustaining. Delicious. The tomato "tumor" is just a fleshy chunk of fruit meat sans seeds. It is documented thoroughly before consumed.
Days later, in a used bookstore, while browsing in the science section on the way to the gardening shelves, I randomly open a book to this sentence:
"Energy is only useful when it is under proper control."
It's a slim volume and I hesitate before returning it to the jumbled shelf. I'm in a non-acquisitions phase. I've already picked up one book I can't resist—the first volume of Bob Dylan's memoir. It's been out only a few years and already has that musty, used bookstore stink. Before I take it into bed with me, I fan it out on the back porch and then sprinkle talcum powder on the fore edge and fan it again. I know what I need to do: stick it in an oversized ziplock bag with some dried lavender. Herbal cleansing.
Dylan's voice is so in my head and I hear him singing the line: Energy is only useful when it is under proper control. Dylan's reading and gathering period was so deep and wide, his lyrical observations at once mysterious, profane and sensible, so it is possible. That sentence is from a book with the straightforward title of Energy. It was published in 1929 by British physicist Sir Oliver Lodge who, I later learn, expanded his interests to explore the possibility of life after death. Spiritualists claim him as one of their own. What better spokesperson for the metaphysical set than a pioneer in wireless telegraphy? And what, you ask, does this have to do with tomatoes? I recently read an article (in the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture newsletter. Yup. Rose, you know all about my farm fantasy....) concerning a farmer who burned walnut shells, as an alternative to fuel, to grow energy-fficient spring tomatoes his northern California greenhouse. A tenuous connection? Sir Lodge would disagree. And Bob wouldn't give a shit.