the circle of missing tomatoes – Liberation


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Occupying, like strawberries or cherries, an important place in the collective culinary imagination, this vegetable-fruit also has the reputation of fooling the consumer: the flavors no longer have anything to do with those of yesteryear.

End of October. The last tomatoes fall into the gardener’s hand, and the seedlings will soon go into a deep sleep. This strange nostalgia that grips us at this time, marked by the passage of the seasons, has been the subject of study by the Franco-Japanese writer Ryoko Sekiguchi for several years. In his book Nagori, nostalgia for the season that has just left us (2018), the author is interested in this feeling so difficult to grasp: that, both sweet and bitter, of saying goodbye to things punctuated by the food cycle. Thus, asparagus, raspberries, apricots, peaches, cherries, and of course tomatoes, precisely mark the passage of time, and create a context of perpetual farewells until distant reunions − at least if the we resist the temptations of the January strawberry.

For many, however, the tomato occupies a special place in this imaginary of lack, thinks Ryoko Sekiguchi: “You have to think about what the tomato represents for the French: it’s summer, holidays, the countryside. The adoration of tomatoes is like the adoration of tangerines for the Japanese. It is a myth, a symbol. But cabbage is much older, much more local than tomatoes! You have to see how much certain symbols define us.” This is all the more true as

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