My Food Style

The Tomato & Solving the Mystery behind Red Sauce

I have always been infatuated with the size and wonder of planes, how massive steal transports lift as if weightless from the gravity dominated ground and float above the clouds, and what better place to indulge in such fascination then the Denver International Airport. You might be asking yourself, “What do airplanes have to do with tomatoes? “ Well on a beautiful Thursday morning in 2001, aboard flight 409, I was the main attraction in one of the greatest messes in United Airlines history.

It was on that gloomy morning that I sat in yet another row of sticky black airport seats as I watched my chariot gracefully opened its canopy for me. I know hundreds boarded before me, but I believe cheap tickets are a great way to ensure that I get any seat I want, being a man who prefers the window; I cannot imagine being wedged between two strangers for hours constantly smiling as our elbows harmlessly fight for the armrest. I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and it is important that I have a little space. My strategy of being last to board proved to be a success, for I spotted a great window seat just a few feet from the exit. I noticed the direct eye contact from the flight attendant when she was discussing the emergency exits, and it seemed as if she was implying that I might have to act as a hero if something should go terribly wrong. I ignored her directions along with the red letters above my head, “EMERGENCY EXIT”, and within minutes, we were soaring gracefully over the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

The flight was heading toward San Francisco and I was on my way to meet someone very special, someone I wanted to look snazzy for, so with my black shirt pressed and crisp white corduroys I achieved style. The pants were a daring purchase, nobody at the time seemed to be wearing them and I wanted to make sure I stood out (lesson learned). I looked up to see the seatbelt light illuminated and the only thing moving about the cabin was the beverage cart. I love being the first one served and the first one off the flight, I guess you could say I was flying high (pun intended). I ordered a crisp can of tomato juice from the beverage cart, tomato juice always reminds me of a spoon full of my mothers pasta sauce. It was while I was sipping on my tomato juice, covered head to toe in astonishing fashion, when the unthinkable happened! The turbulence (there was none) sent my fingers into a spasm and I dropped a cans worth of tomato juice on my white attire. With my seatbelt still tightly fastened I jumped quickly only to be snagged back into my seat. I must have yelled pretty loud because within seconds I was surrounded by many people who thought my accident was more important than obeying the illuminated seatbelt sign above all of our heads. One woman, in her infinite wisdom, quickly doused me with her club soda and furiously began to wipe up my lap. I looked as though I had just endured a horrible response to a stand up comedy routine, pelted numerous times with ripe tomatoes. I rushed to the rear bathroom, passing hundreds of instantly curious people covered in grins and stares.

Therefore, for obvious reasons, I avoid tomatoes whenever I can, but those of you with IC shun this fruit for deeper, more severe reasons. If there were a way that I could enjoy tomato juice during a flight without possibly suffering the same outcome as before, believe me, I would. The same logic applies when dealing with the effects a tomato has on many in the IC community. However, there is a way to enjoy many dishes that normally involve tomatoes without actually digesting the ones that may cause you to flare up.

There are dozens of tomato varieties that exist today, such as; beef steak, roma, cherry, globe, plum, currant, heirloom, purple, and many more. Most of these tomatoes contain high levels of acidic properties, but there are a few that have considerably low acidic levels. For instance, the yellow cherry tomato is less acidic than its red counterpart is, and the flavor is bland. If you find that the yellow cherry tomato is safe for you to eat, consider making a salad of fresh asparagus, yellow cherry tomatoes and basil. Toss these ingredients in a little olive oil and salt and enjoy a perfect side dish.

In addition, homegrown tomatoes and organic tomatoes contain less acid because they are naturally “vine-ripened.” Other tomatoes are ripened using ethylene gas or special warming rooms, thus these tomatoes will never have the texture, aroma, and taste of the vine-ripened tomatoes. If you can enjoy the low-acid tomatoes, only purchase ones that are free of blemishes and avoid any that are heavy for their size and give to a little palm pressure. Store your tomatoes at room temperature in a vented paper bag with one apple. Never refrigerate tomatoes- cold temperatures kill the flesh and dull the flavor.

I am aware there is a large majority of people with IC that cannot stomach tomatoes no matter the ripening cycle or their organic qualities. A good alternative may be red bell peppers. I have received enough positive comments on this website - along with facebook - concerning the red bell pepper being safe to eat, that I have successfully integrated the red bell pepper into a classic Red Sauce without the use of tomatoes. This recipe for red peppers sauce can be found in our recipe section.

I spent twenty minutes and used five cans of club soda on my pants and never did returned to the front window seat, I remained in the back, close to the bathroom, where I was last to leave. It comes as no surprise that tomatoes have played a pivotal role in how I go about enjoying my travels, but they do not have to play a pivotal role in your food style. Therefore, I create this sauce to bring the heartiness and experience back to your kitchen. Therefore, the next time you set the table for a wonderful Italian meal be thankful your feet are firm on the ground knowing nothing will ruin your red sauce - or corduroys - not even turbulence. Does anyone else find it ironic that this mess happened on flight 409?

What is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition that results in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region. The symptoms vary from case to case....

What causes IC?

Some of the symptoms of IC/PBS resemble those of bacterial infection, but medical tests reveal no organisms in the urine of people with IC/PBS...

How is IC diagnosed?

Because symptoms are similar to those of other disorders of the bladder and there is no definitive test to identify IC/PBS, doctors must rule out other treatable conditions before considering a diagnosis of IC/PBS...

What are treatments for IC?

Scientists have not yet found a cure for IC/PBS, nor can they predict who will respond best to which treatment. Symptoms may disappear with a change in diet or treatments or without explanation...

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