Actor Vadivelu is the ready reckoner and source for any meme creator. He has dealt with all the ridiculous, absurd things that happen in our daily lives. The tomato can hit the rock bottom in prices one week but soon climb up to compete with gold. Not too long back, farmers dumped tomatoes on the road since the cost of transporting was greater than what it would bring to the pocket. So when tomato prices skyrocketed recently, meme creators had only to invoke Vadivelu’s tomato chutney vs blood peeve.
Tomato comes from south and central America but is a part of cuisines around the world including ours. In Tamil Nadu as well as everywhere else in the world, the tomato is sold by vegetable vendors though it can be considered a fruit: it is juicy, succulent and has seeds. But what is lacking is the sugar boost that fruits give and for that reason the tomato is cooked and eaten more often than not.
In the US, just like it is for most things in that country, the tomato’s status was made on a commercial basis. The US government decided to tax vegetables, so tomato was going to be taxed too. Some farmers went to court saying it is a fruit. But the courts decided otherwise. But the discord has continued. New Jersey has made the tomato its state vegetable whereas the state of Ohio considers the tomato its state fruit. It is quite likely that the tax status of the tomato has a bearing on this difference.
Fruit or vegetable, our farmers don’t rake in money if tomato prices go over the roof. Middlemen make a killing in the market citing rains.
For consumers of the red fruit, er vegetable, the tomato is now as worrying as petrol.