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The Pop-Culture History of the Tomato, from the Stage to the Simpsons

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Michael Y. Park

The tomato may be a relative newcomer to the wider world's dining table, but there's no denying that the spherical fruit...or is it vegetable?...has made a huge impact on popular culture. Sure, it doesn't have a devastating and world-changing famine named after it, like its cousin and fellow New Worlder the potato. But does any other vegetable...or is it fruit?...have as much instant symbolism for us under so many widely different circumstances? After all, what other foodstuff can boast that it's both the instrument of choice for revenge-seeking audience members subjected to a stage performance worthy of assault and battery--and a nickname for curvaceous hotties from the Garden State?

So before you spear the cherry tomato topping your next salad, slice a beefsteak onto your burger, or sink your teeth into a Campari, celebrate the tomato's historical high points in pop culture. It'll be even quicker than whipping up a fresh summertime marinara.

The Pop-Culture History of the Tomato, from the Stage to the Simpsons

There's no denying that the spherical fruit ...or is it vegetable?...has made a huge impact on popular culture.