An annual event sees thousands of people engaged in a food fight with tomatoes and leaves a community — buildings and people — stained, temporarily, red.
If being bombed with fresh raw tomatoes is your idea of a good time, then I hope you managed to make your way to Eastern Spain last week.
Yes, while those of us on the southeastern United States were focusing attention on a coming tropical storm named Hermine, people in Bunol, Spain were focused on an event named “Tomatina.”
The Tomatina is an hour-long battle that brings together 20,000 people for a giant food fight. The food in this particular event, is the tomato.
I have a love-hate relationship with tomatoes: I hate the taste and texture of a raw tomato, but I love the flavor of foods in which tomato sauce is used, like lasagne and pizza.
Part of my avoidance of raw tomatoes is because of a mild allergy: the acid in a raw tomato leaves the inside of my mouth irritated and it’s a very annoying feeling. That, and I don’t like the texture of a raw tomato, something the late George Carlin accurately described as seeming to be in the “larval”  stage.
I recently ran into someone on Facebook who mentioned having a similar experience with tomato and reported she was relieved to learn from her doctor that there are indeed people who suffer from tomato allergies. I, in turn, was relieved to hear this myself, as I’ve never been officially “diagnosed,”  but managed to rule out everything else through common sense and the process of elimination.
Apparently, when a tomato is cooked, whatever acid or other substance that causes the reaction for me is no longer active. That means, fortunately, I can enjoy a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs or baked ziti, or even the occasional Southern treat fried green tomatoes without incident or discomfort.
But being in a food fight and caught in the middle of 160 tons of tomatoes?
Sorry, that’s not my thing.
I would think there could be a better use for food than wasting 160 tons of it and creating such a big mess in the process.
But there I go thinking again.