HuzyefeTuranUnsplashby Mary Jo

When I was a kid in Western New York, tomatoes were just another vegetable.  I didn't grow them in my garden, and while there were plenty of farm stands with great produce, I don't remember tomatoes as being especially prominent. (Picture: Hyzeyfe Turcan))

Now I live in Maryland, where it is warmer and a there's a much longer growing season, and tomatoes are treated as almost a religious experience.  People (justly) rhapsodize about the heavenly taste of perfectly ripe Eastern Shore tomatoes and swap tips on where to buy the very best tomatoes. Which is important because there are a fair number of disappointing red imposters lurking under signs that say "Tomatoes."  (Developing tomatoes that ripen at the same time and are a uniform red might have been good for mass production, but in my experience, the texture is too often like Styrofoam.)


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A Taste of Chocolate

ChocolateChristina here and today I’ve got chocolate on my mind. Not just today, actually, but most days because I’m a complete chocoholic! But here’s the thing – I haven’t had a single piece for the last week. Not one tiny crumb! Unfortunately, this is necessary because my chocolate consumption had been going through the roof recently. What with being at home all the time during lockdown and not moving enough, drastic measures were called for.

I did try cutting down at first, but found it was calling to me, and time after time I headed for the fridge without even realising I was doing it. Going cold turkey seemed the only option and I figured it would get easier after a few days. It has. Sort of. But the yearning for chocolate hasn’t totally gone away.

Hot chocolate 136198

The main problem is that chocolate has been my writing aid for many years. I can honestly say that all my books to date have been fuelled by chocolate. It woke me up in the mornings and made me alert enough to type coherent sentences, even though I’m really a night owl. Whenever I flagged and my energy levels felt depleted, a couple of squares of chocolate spurred me on. And as a reward for work well done or a day of writing finished, there was nothing better. In short, I used any excuse to have some, which is probably why I’m feeling its loss so keenly now.

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