Now, at harvest time, our family is particularly blessed to have generous neighbors who share their bountiful tomato harvest. Last weekend, we had them over for a tomato-fest dinner, which I cooked with a bushel of their tomatoes. For an hors d'oeuvre I made a tomato tapenade with chopped tomato and black olives, minced capers and garlic, lemon juice and zest, olive oil and herbes de Provence. We followed that with a cold tomato and veal stock soup. The main course was medallion of lamb loin in a tomato, basil and shallot reduction sauce. The key to such a menu is fresh, homegrown tomatoes from seeds that yield thin-skinned, magnificently flavored - almost perfumed - tomatoes.
But beware: The tomatoes you get at the store are grown to be thick skinned for non-bruised shipping. A side effect of the thick skin is thin flavor. Don't waste your best cooking effort on such flat and boring, cardboard tasting tomatoes.
There, I've done it. I have violated the Bush campaign's first principle. I went negative on supermarket tomatoes. But it was necessary. If I was to persuade you to grow your own tomatoes (or live next door to someone who does) it was not enough to describe why they are good. I had to explain why you wouldn't want the store-bought tomatoes. But the Bush campaign apparently believes that it is unethical to point out the other fellow's shortcomings.
Just last weekend, Richard B. Cheney was on "Meet The Press," where Tim Russert asked him what was wrong with Al Gore's prescription drug plan. Rather than criticize the policy of his opponent, "Gentleman" Cheney simply said that when Mr. Bush came out with his plan, the public could compare them. The Bush campaign apparently believes that it would have been a crime against humanity to have responded that Mr. Gore's plan would subsidize not only the needy 25 percent but the already covered 75 percent, thereby causing inflation in drug prices which will inevitably result in price controls. That risks undercapitalizing the drug industry which would then no longer be able to develop - at great research cost - all those lifesaving drugs.
Team Bush's self-restraint is mistaken, both historically and tactically. Let me quote from one of the most effective negative attack ads in our political history: "He has obstructed the Administration of Justice . . . He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People . . . He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution . . ." Yes, I'm quoting from the Declaration of …