BELOVED TOMATO - THE SCANDALOUS FRUIT - Finale
Americans and Northern Europeans remained skeptical of the strange fruit and it took until the late 1700's - early 1800's for the fruit to gain popularity in both England and America. In 1820 in New Jersey, Robert Johnson announced he would disprove all fears and publicly eat tomatoes. He survived to the astonishment of the crowd, of whom several ladies had fainted. (Perhaps it was the ruby red spurting juice and seeds?) Could he have set up the first tomato canning factory? No one knows.
In 1883, the Congress of America levied a 10% tax on all imported vegetables and decided to reclassify the tomato as a vegetable. Contested in 1893 by a botanist who lost his case, arguing that it is in reality a berry fruit. Since then the tomato has been legally classified a vegetable.
Considering that the tomato has been enjoyed since pre-Columbian times (+ - 900 BC) in Mesoamerica, it has taken only a few hundred years for the tomato to become accepted worldwide since that first early encounter with it by the Spanish conquistadors in the 15th century.
From South America to southern Europe, then further north to England, then back to the Americas in the USA, it continued to spread throughout Northern Africa. It reached still further eastwards to Turkey, Iran, India, Asia and beyond to space when in 2000* the Chinese developed a new breed of tomato from tomato seeds sent up in a satellite.
So, what would be so scandalous about tomatoes today?
If we didn't have any.
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