I draw the line here. I don't like fried green tomatoes. Or, rather, I don't think I like them. I don't remember ever trying them.
But I know I don't like the smell of an unripe tomato, something similar to the pungent smell of the tomato vine itself. No, tomatoes should be red. I don't even care for yellow tomatoes. Certainly I cannot appreciate green ones.
Mom, on the other hand, does.
It is early morning - breakfast is just finished - when Mom gets out a skillet and begins working on the basket of green tomatoes I brought in yesterday (by the way, it did not frost as forecast so the garden could have been left alone for a while longer; but never mind). Mom breaks an egg and adds a little milk to make the egg-wash a little lighter. She dips the sliced green tomatoes in the egg and then dusts them in corn meal. That's all there is to the preparation.
Soon they're sizzling in a frying pan. Mom turns them when one side browns. She'll have some of them for lunch and save the rest for later. Though I am sure I wouldn't like them, I do like the smell of them frying and the browned sides get my attention.
And yet I can't help but think of these. A tomato must be succulent and a deep red, sliced thickly raw and sprinkled with no more than salt and pepper. I loved remembering how dark Dad made his sliced tomatoes with pepper. He wasn't ready to eat until the slice was nearly black. And even before this, he'd smell the cut slice. Tomatoes had to be just right for Dad. I am somewhat a snob in this regard, too.
So, it's just 9:30 am. Breakfast dishes are barely done. But Mom has her lunch nearly prepared. She lifts each golden slice onto a white plate. She will have each all to herself.