If you want to listen to a funny story about tomatoes and group of hungry hippos, Ernesto Sirolli tells a great one. The story is as colorful as its teller, but the moral is sobering: if you really want to help people, you have to just shut up and listen.
Sometimes when I go exploring for food tales, I discover stories that are just dying to be told but find themselves without a teller. An unmarked food cart, a cookie served in meeting, a fruit cocktail handed to you at a wedding.
This recipe is endlessly versatile. I like it rich with tomatoes, but you may also add cream or milk if you prefer a milder flavor. Fresh herbs such as thyme and basil will work well, both cooked into the soup and as a garnish.
I find it sad when some restaurants still consider a pile of lettuce with a few slices of cucumbers and tomatoes a salad. When I make salads at home, I like to incorporate different types of greens with in-season produce, and often add protein in forms of chicken, tofu of beans.
Summer bumper crops can be beautiful. And overwhelming. But here's the other side -- we waste up to half of our food in this country. Toulze puts everything to use, something he learned from his mother. "My mom has always pickled and jarred as long as I can remember," he says.
For the backyard gardener or farmer's market forager, tomato season is one of the true joys of summer. They may not be around for long, but when they are, there is little you can put on your plate that so easily and simply (and healthily) packs so much flavor.