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False Tomatassumptions

I try not to make life difficult.

It’s possible my friends and family would disagree. I’ve been told by several of them that indeed I do seem to like making life difficult, quite a lot of the time, apparently. So I’ll restate it:

I try not to make my life difficult.

Sometimes I fail at that, too. But I try. I’m not picky, much. I don’t make a lot of demands, usually. And I keep my expectations low. Except when I don’t. But mostly, I do. It keeps life easier.

Well. One life, anyway. I can’t speak for the others.

One thing I try to keep dead simple is food. Some people complicate the hell out of food, which just seems exhausting. Ordering dishes just so, and sending them back if they’re not quite right. Turning their nose up at new dishes. Feeling things about “organic” stuff, and other, opposite things about “modified” stuff. Being allergic to fiddly delicious ingredients. Asking questions when the waiter describes the dinner specials.

I don’t know. Those all seem like ways to get your food soundly spat in, if you ask me. I don’t go in for any of that complicated business. I ask for something, keep it simple, and then deal with whatever’s handed to me. It’s not the “American way”, maybe, of loud demands and stampy feet and Important Opinions About Things™. But my diet’s nearly saliva-free. So there’s that.

I just have one little exception.

(To the “complicated” thing. Not the “spat-in food” thing. I hope.)

I don’t like raw tomatoes.

In fairness, this preference doesn’t seem to complicate anyone else’s life — mostly because they refuse to acknowledge the preference exists in the first place. I can order a burger and ask “hold the tomatoes”. Will they hold the tomatoes? No.

Actually, I suppose they technically do “hold the tomatoes”, right before they slap them on my sammich. Possibly while spitting on them. That could be a communication issue.

“I’ll never understand tomatoes, but paired with lettuce? The rice cake of crisper-drawer vegetables?”

But even with a blank sandwich slate, the assumption of tomatoes is still there. I can ask for a ham sandwich, or turkey, or chicken salad on marbled rye, and the follow-up is almost always:

You want lettuce and tomato on that?

I do not. And while I understand I must be in the minority, I can’t help but wonder — how did this combination become the default for sandwich-focused “fixins”? I’ll never understand tomatoes, but paired with lettuce? The rice cake of crisper-drawer vegetables? I’d say eating lettuce was like munching cardboard, but most cardboard at least has ridges to make it interesting. Lettuce has squat. It’s empty fiber. Bzzzzzt!

Naturally, I always let them put lettuce on my sandwich, since I make a big deal about not wanting tomato. I’m telling you, I’m committed to not making things difficult.

Of course, they also always put the tomato on my sandwich, too. But at least this way, they’re not spitting on my lettuce. Probably. Although at least then it might taste like something.

Too far? Perhaps. Let’s move on.

The same thing happens at the burrito bar. The nice hairnetted hombre asks me what I’d like. My answer is always the same:

Lettuce, hot sauce and jalapenos, please

Immediately, he reaches for the salsa — which is mostly raw tomato. And cilantro, the herb for people who want the taste of sucking a lemon through a pine cone, without all the nasty tree sap and zest mess. My Spanish is as iffy as his English, but I do my best to stop him dumping that hot mess of cold ‘maters into my burrito.

Sometimes it works, because “no no no no no no!” is pretty much the same in both languages. Usually, I have to cross myself and cry, “Dios mio!” to seal the deal, but it’s worth a few hysterics to get my carnitas wrapped the way I want them. Which is without tomato salsa. Ay, chihuahua.

But I’m dealing with the same ingrained tomatattitude. Everybody wants tomatoes, apparently. It’s the go-to, the standard, the “usual”. Buck the system, and you’re usually ignored. Not because people are rude. I mean, people are rude, sometimes, but if they ask you what you want on a sandwich, they’re usually willing to follow through on your request.

Unless it involves “no tomatoes”. Because that’s just unthinkable. What kind of monster goes tomatoless? And in public, no less? No, they assure themselves — I must have heard that wrong. I bet that guy asked for extra tomatoes, so I’ll be sure to pile them on high. “No tomatoes” — that’s not even a thing, right?

Most of the time, it’s not. Even when I’d like it to be. But I suppose it could be worse. If I had an aversion to mustard or mayo, that would be a lot harder to remove. Or saliva. Also tricky. Tomatoes, I can usually dig in and grab, and yank them out cleanly.

At which point, I want to take them to whoever made the dish. Not to be a dick — lord, never to be a dick — but just to offer them back. Here, tomatoes. People clearly like these monstrosities, and you gave me a bunch I don’t want. Don’t waste them, please. You must go through tons of the beasts, slapping them in every sammich and burrito and milkshake and whatever else you robotically default them into. Take these back, and give them to someone who’ll enjoy them. Or rub cilantro all over them, so no one can. It’s your choice.

But of course, I never actually do that. I just throw the tomatoes away, poor things, and go on with my amended meal. Because I wouldn’t want to be difficult.

Permalink  |  2 Comments



2 Responses to “False Tomatassumptions”

  1. MichaelCIT says:

    Ahaha great stuff, I’ve worked in functions before so that food complaints thing really rings true – don’t believe I’ve ever spat in someones food before, but who knows if my colleagues did.

  2. Alexia says:

    I thought I was the only one with food problems. Although, the same as you, I’ve try to be simple with my orders and to forget with the standards. The last time I ordered a hamburger, I asked it JUST with meat and the waiter gave it to me without BREAD, even without the PLATE. I guess, we will have to accept the fact that some things won’t change and to not complicated this little things.

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