The Queen of Foods

The other evening during supper, Charlie said, “It’s starting to taste like summer.” That’s because one of the enterprising vendors at the farmers’ market had started plants in the greenhouse and had green tomatoes to sell.

By husbandential fiat, we can’t pick any green tomatoes until after July 4th. The stakes for the Ripe Tomato By The Fourth Of July competition are high: top bragging rights for the whole year. –“I won the Nobel, Pulitzer, Pushcart, and Booker prizes.” –“Really? I had ripe tomatoes by the 4th.” –“Wow! Can I have your autograph?”

If you’ve read Fannie Flagg’s wonderful FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE, or if you’ve seen the movie made from the book, you know the store we fried green tomato eaters set by the dish.

There is no “right” way to make them. Make them the way you like them. Make them different every time. Here’s a link to the recipe used by the restaurant Fannie Flagg used as the model for The Whistle Stop Cafe. Sounds kinda frou-frou to me but, as Grandpa used to say, “If you ain’t tried it, don’t knock it.”

Here’s my recipe for fried green tomatoes, cucumber salad, ripe tomatoes and marriage, all wrapped up in a poem:

by Marian Allen

You can’t just fry green tomatoes,
Aunt Louisa tells me.
Can’t just toss em in a pan
Like virgins in a marriage bed.
The flour’ll come right off.
No damn good unless they’re crusty.
Slice em middlin thin and salt em.
Flour em after that. Then the flour’ll stick.

Onions and cucumbers, she says.
Soon as you pick em, while the skins are tender,
slice em kinda thin into a bowl.
Pepper and salt em–heavy on the salt.
Cover em with sweet milk and let em set.
Salt draws out the bitter,
sweet milk makes em kind.
Cucumbers can hurt you
‘less you fix em right.

Ripe tomatoes,
Aunt Louisa says.
Don’t pick em pink and
set em on a windowsill.
Tasteless and mealy, took before their time.
Pick ’em ripe and slice em thick.
You can’t be hasty with tomatoes, girl.
You can’t be stingy.

What’s the taste of summer to you?

The blog book tour stop for THE CORNER CAFE today is Maryann Miller’s It’s Not All Gravy. Hop over and see her.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Two characters get into an argument about the “right” way to do something.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “The Queen of Foods

  1. Jane

    June 27, 2012 at 1:20pm

    Hi. We’ve already had a ripe tomato!! Then the critters came and got it. Or some sort of critter did. Anyway, it disappeared from the vine the night before I was set to pick it. So…………..I pick them a bit previously now. I guess close enough to ripe is going to have to be OK.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 27, 2012 at 2:45pm

      Ebil critters! Critters ob ebil! We have to fight the turtles for cucumbers and low-growing tomatoes. Raccoons’ll snag ’em, too, the dirty rats.

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