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Cultural Food - Tomatoes - Essay Example

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This essay analyzes tomatoes, that are one of the most popular fruits in the world and almost all harvesting is done with the view to ultimately being consumed by humans. Historically, the tomato originates from Peru in South America although these were not in the same form as the modern tomato…
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Download file to see previous pages There is further speculation as to how the tomato became more widely available. The most popular school of thought is that Cortez, who was a Spanish explorer who took over the now called Mexico City in 1521 took the yellow fruit to Europe where it gained popularity. Another school of thought is that Christopher Columbus was the first to introduce the tomato. Regardless of this, there was mention of the tomato in European literature in 1544 where it was referred to as a golden apple.
The modern-day name tomato is derived from the Nahuatl language but the name Lycopersicum literally translated means ‘wolf-peach’. This was thought to be a reflection of the widely held view, particularly in Europe that the fruit was poisonous and could, therefore, be used to protect against wolves. From a very early stage, tomatoes have been seen as a perfect fruit for cooking in many cultures. Culturally they were very important to those in Southern Mexico region of Pueblo thinking that anyone who saw another individual eating a tomato would gain divination powers.
Culturally the tomato had a bit of a slower introduction within Europe. Whilst the Mediterranean climate was perfect for tomato growing there was no immediate evidence that it was used as food. There is evidence that the Spanish used the tomato as fruit from the early 1600s although it is possible that it was recognized as a food before then. Clear recipes including tomatoes were published in 1692 but it was also evident that the main role of the tomato across much of Europe was as a table decoration and not as a food. By contrast in England, the tomato did not get cultivated until the late 16th, early 17th century. There is no denying that the tomato has become a critically important element of modern society and recognized on a global level as an important food item. In modern society, there is a positive attitude towards the fruit although deeply rooted historical perceptions have now shaped the symbolic influence of this widely accepted fruit, be it negative or positive. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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