[Sca-cooks] *Sigh* That tomato thing - again

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Mon Oct 2 06:52:48 PDT 2006

On Oct 2, 2006, at 8:59 AM, grizly wrote:

> What puts the burlap in my small clothes about thiese topics that  
> will never
> die, and gain popularity every time they are posited, is that they  
> all seem
> ensconsed in very bad scholarship.  The very archetype of "let's  
> see if we
> can make this period" rather than looking to see what was and was  
> not done
> when and where duriing our time-location of interest.  Should  
> someone do
> responsible and thorough research on the development and  
> propagation of
> tomatoes in Europe in our late decades, then one would get a good  
> idea what
> was and was not done with the foodstuff.
> However, it appears that time and again, someone or ones pop up  
> with the
> goal of justifying using or doing <<insert trend here>> and go  
> about making
> assertions and generalizations that do not make a lot of scholarly  
> sense.
> Pushing the envelope of understanding is how we grow our knowledge and
> understanding base, but scholarship must stand on evidenciary  
> foundations
> and rational, well explained assertions using those.

It just seems too often, people are more interested in promoting an  
idea of what life was like in period, finding evidence to support the  
idea, and throwing out what doesn't support it, instead of taking the  
evidence and trying to find out what life was like, whether it fits  
the preconceived notion or not.

Then, of course, there are also people obsessed with the idea that we  
have all these rules and are so concerned with what is "permissible",  
and therefore have an overwhelming need to overturn the rules that we  
don't really have and show the world how unfair we are in determining  
what is and is not permissible. Which is pretty much anything, but  
who's counting?

There's also a certain amount of power [perceived] in being able to  
tell others that their research is good or bad.

I suppose the proper rhetorical response to these tomato assertions  
would be to slightly oversimplify the case being made and say,  
"Yesyesyes, 'In-Fourteen-ninety-two-Columbus-sailed-the-ocean-blue',  
we know, and when he got there, he and others like him found  
tomatoes. _Now_ please demonstrate that their use in Europe was  
commonplace in the 16th century or that they had any major impact. In  
short, please show how this led to tomato-based gazpacho, the  
invention of tomato ketchup, and the emergence of Southern Italy as  
the great bastion of red sauce that it is today, all in the 16th  

Which is kind of unfair in a way, too, but then rhetoric can be like  
that ;-).


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