Sunday, November 12, 2006

Do it Yourself

The most recent post calls to mind an observation: Of all the things that I've tried doing for myself, making bread, making yogurt, and growing tomatoes are unquestionably the three top things that fall into the category "doing it yourself is orders of magnitude better than buying it from someone else." Making your own bread, as per the last post, is really quite easy, and it is incomparably better than anything in a grocery store. Making your own yogurt is also quite easy. Homemade yogurt takes a little getting used to -- it's not as thick as store-bought yogurt, and it's got more of a tangy "bite" to it -- but once you get used to the real stuff, store-bought yogurt just seems like sickeningly sweet pudding.

As for tomatoes -- I've had a garden for two years now, and I've tried growing tomatoes, strawberries, yellow squash, zucchini, okra, corn, green beans, carrots, and cilantro. At least in my yard, using the seeds/plants that I used, the corn and strawberries were worse than store-bought. Everything else tasted about the same, except that it was probably more work to get it. But with tomatoes -- ah, what a difference. If you get some really good tomato plants, you're in for a treat. Store-bought tomatoes are almost always picked green, shipped in from somewhere (probably hundreds or thousands of miles away), and ripened by application of ethylene gas (which naturally occurs in tomatoes anyway, by the way). A fresh tomato picked straight from the vine is, in my experience, far juicier and more flavorful than the typical store-bought tomato. Slice up a few fresh tomatoes, sprinkle on a bit of unprocessed sea salt and balsamic vinegar, and there's nothing like it.


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