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We Can All Be Tomato Girls

Mon, 08/14/2023 - 14:25
If you're not inspired by TikTok to have a "tomato girl summer," maybe the local produce and some simple recipes will lure you into the kitchen.
Laura Donnelly

It's Tomato Girl Summer! If you are 24 years old or younger, you know what that means. If you are approaching your seventh decade of life like me, you don't or you didn't.

Glamour magazine screams "JLo is having a literal tomato girl summer and you can too!" JLo is Jennifer Lopez, an actress, talented singer, and hawker of many products with her name on them. In an accompanying photo she is wearing white pants, white shirt, her omnipresent hoop earrings, and hawking a wine or a perfume, whatevs. She is in Italy on a yacht.

The Guardian proclaims "Tomato girl summer: giving la dolce vita a Gen Z makeover." And: "strolling around Italian markets with a woven bag in hand is the fashion vibe for summer 2023." Presumably while strolling through the market you will actually, literally, virtually pick up some tomatoes and do something with them.

Tomato girl summer is a TikTok trend following Barbiecore, Mermaidcore, and Coastal Cowgirl. Allow me to briefly explain what TikTok is. It is a Chinese-owned social video-sharing app. "Users can shoot, edit and share 15 second videos jazzed up with filters, music, animation, special effects and more," according to an October 2019 article in Oprah magazine. Its parent company, Byte Dance, started as and in 2018 was rebranded as TikTok. Instagram, Twitter (X), and Facebook are banned in China. The F.B.I. and the F.C.C. fear that TikTok is allowing the Chinese government to collect data (spy!) on its American users. But really, who are the real knuckleheads here? The young girls following vegetable and fruit fashion trends or the "spies" watching this drivel until they fall into a state of stupefaction? Take that, Xi Jinping!

The tomato girl summer trend seems intent on pretending you are on the Mediterranean coast. But don't we have the best tomatoes here? Yes. So dress yourself up in red or white, flowery or fruity print flowy dresses, put on some espadrilles, grab your market bag, and head to Balsam Farms or Round Swamp or any local farmers market. For sure you will turn heads with your fetching au courant ensemble. (Although you may be turning heads because of your puerile parking job.)

Tomatoes this season have been very good, not great, but very good. And gents, just because it's called tomato girl summer doesn't mean you can't get in on the act. Tomatoes are botanically defined (or identify) as a fruit and they totally, literally vibe with egalitarianism. Make a sandwich, a salad, some Sunday gravy.

Here are some tomato recipes to get you through till the next TikTok food-adjacent fad which I've heard may be Eggplant Ennui or Muskmelon Mama Month or Green Bean Girl August or Salsify Summer Sisters to be followed by Leeky Lass October and very possibly Napa Cabbage Patch Doll November.

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