I am a Simple Tomato and Bon Appetit Cooked Me 47 Different Ways. This is My Story.


Written by: Avika Dhillon

By Thomas A. Toe
Distressed Fruit

Here’s the thing — I’m a tomato. Yes, I shouldn’t be able to type. I don’t even have thumbs. But have you ever been so pissed off that you gained sentience to adequately express your rage? 

Look, food waste is no joke. If at any point in time people would pay attention to that, right now is probably it. About a million decades ago, during a period of time once called “January 2020,” someone could go to a cashier checkout with 100 tomatoes while roleplaying a sixth-grade math problem and nobody cared. Now, people across the United States are raiding local grocery stores with near-empty shelves looking to scrape together a decent meal with whatever they can find. It’s the world’s worst episode of “Chopped,” except that the box only has leftover chocolate hummus, spam, wine, and fruit loops. As a tomato, I’m no stranger to being wasted, and no, not the fun kind. My expectations were pretty low, like maybe just going on a plain burger and calling it a day. But I had never truly experienced pure horror until I got selected by the famed “Bon Appetit” magazine. If you don’t know what “Bon Appetit” is, go DM that ex-roommate you had freshman year who ate out at Convoy Street five nights a week and made their own kombucha. Trust me, they’ll know. 

For example, I may have only learned to read yesterday, but here’s a quote from BA itself on how to treat tomatoes: “Some people like to eat a tomato like an apple and there is nothing wrong with that.” Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me? There is so much wrong with that, you human-faced son of a bitch. A tomato needs salt, at the minimum. Unsalted tomatoes are just acidic snot with a skin around it, and you can quote me on that. Why would you choose to bite into me like a goddamn apple? Furthermore, what kind of monstrous organization could condone such behavior? Well, I’m going to explain exactly what kind. 

They tricked me and said they were going to put me on the internet, make me a star. Instead, I was washed, rinsed, and thrown on the sidelines to watch in horror as I saw what fate awaited me. Tomatoes before me were slowly roasted on a stick over a campfire only to fall into the hot coals, blasted with a blowtorch on a sidewalk, or have a smiley face branded into their flesh by a handheld laser in a trendy take on the Joker. But my fate was the worst of all — the chef made tomato tartare. Truly disgusting. That’s just salsa with access to a ring mold and a hatred of flavor. Only one bite of that bland bruschetta knockoff and it was all over, right into the compost heap. At that moment I realized tomatoes were being chewed up and spat out for views by chefs at the mercy of internet algorithms, then tossed out afterward to fend for themselves. The sheer hubris of it all. Do you see me going about lasering a face into your face? You don’t, because I’m not an actual psychopath. 

On some level, I kind of get it. The point of this was to interest their audience in cooking and perhaps experimenting with some new techniques. But at what cost? Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it should be endured. I deserve a little tenderness. 

In conclusion: “Bon Appetit,” how dare you.


Thomas A. Toe

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