My husband loves tomatoes. Raw tomatoes, that is: he will not eat them cooked. (He has the same peculiar picky streak with regard to carrots: loves ’em raw, hates ’em cooked.) His sister Julie, on the other hand, does not only dislike raw tomatoes, she finds them repulsive. She will not eat anything with seeds, including olives. A pomegranate would give her a nervous breakdown. Tom’s other sister, Ellen, won’t eat spaghetti sauce, hamburgers, meat loaf, cheese of any kind, jelly (hello?), peas or lima beans. Like her father and Tom, she also dislikes onions and garlic, and, a la Julie, ix-nay the tomatoes and olives.
It’s just another example of how kids are genetically designed to drive their parental menu-planners crazy.
Luckily for my mother-in-law Bette, she also had a son named Johnny, who (pictured here holding a tomato) is an omnivore. I have never seen nor heard of Johnny saying no to a food. But, for that matter, Johnny is just not a ‘no’ kind of guy: he’s a ‘yes’ kind, in every respect. Ask him if he will share his oysters, he will say yes. Ask him if he will change your tire while you check your Facebook page and he will say yes. Ask him if it’s okay to ski down a slope clearly marked with a skull and bones and he will say yes, and he’ll go first. A man on TV asked Johnny to buy an Ab-O-Ciser and he said yes. (His wife had issues with that one.)
So, maybe it follows that, with his level of positivity, he’d eat anything that’s set before him. “Want some gefilte fish Johnny?” “Yes.”
Due to the high level of pickiness in her family, when Bette started making gazpacho, she and Johnny were the only takers. Now, I’ve invented a version that at least leaves out some of the ingredients that offended Tom (onions and red peppers). Julie and Ellen remain hopeless, with their hostility towards tomatoes, but at least now, when I ask, “Want some gazpacho?” it’s not just Johnny who says, “Yes.”
2 pounds juicy heirloom tomatoes (about four large tomatoes), roughly chopped
1 hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded and roughtly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 big cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons resh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
1. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse a few times until they are finely chopped. Place them in a large bowl and set aside. Place the cucumber in the processor and pulse until it is finely chopped, then add it to the tomatoes in the bowl.
2. Add the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and basil to the tomato mixture and stir to combine everything well. Refrigerate the gazpacho for at least an hour, or overnight, before serving.