On cool Sunday mornings of late summer, my father, always an early riser, would slide quietly out of bed, pull on his stay-at-home clothes, and go to the kitchen to measure coffee into the stovetop coffee percolator.
I am also an early riser, so soon I’d be in the kitchen with him stirring Bosco chocolate into a tall glass of milk, spoon clinking against the sides, frothing tiny bubbbles at the top. We’d sit at the table in silence, looking out the window at patches of flowers, wild blackberries, and tended gardens.
“Why don’t you go out and find some good frying tomatoes,” he’d say, and out I’d go to wander the rows with a small worn Easter basker, to gather the largest, firm green tomatoes I could find.
When the basket was full, I’d carry it into the kitchen, place it on the counter, and quickly rinse and dry the fruits. Dad had the frying pan out, its bottom covered with oil, with a bowl of beaten eggs and a platter of spiced flour. He’d pull out the sharpest knife and cut the tomatoes into thick slabs and begin the frying process.
Flour, egg dunk, flour, fry.
No matter how full a basket I’d brought in, the two of us could eat most of the fried green tomatoes before my mother and sister rose. Though to be honest, I’d usually bring in only two or three tomatoes.
Addendum 1: My sister says she didn’t remember this. That’s because we always polished off all the tomatoes before she got up!
Addendum 2: Many thanks to Lori and David for the green tomatoes!