It’s not a big secret that I love food, but when summer comes around, there are three things I look forward to most: extra virgin olive oil, basil, and homegrown tomatoes. That last one is truly my favorite. For just a short period of time each year, tomatoes are suddenly a main event and actually edible entirely on their own. The rest of the year, they taste like tomato-flavored water and are best used as an ingredient rather than consumed on their own. Admittedly, some fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar isn’t usually far beyond this trio, but even just a tomato satisfies this time of year. My favorite are the heirloom tomatoes, not actually because of taste but because they just look so alien and bizarre.
I didn’t always love tomatoes, but as my tastes changed when I got older, I really started to enjoy them. I have to confess, it felt kind of cool to be so “grown up” and eating something that I would have despised previously. For all my talk of preferring to be childlike, sometimes getting older has its perks. At the moment, learning to love tomatoes is all that’s coming to mind, but I’m sure there must be other positive things, despite the gray hair and wrinkles. I remember a friend once remarking about the laugh lines on my face, saying that I could get those “fixed,” which was terribly rude in an attempt to be awkwardly helpful. I politely declined, though, as I didn’t at all understand why someone would want to look like they’ve never laughed in their life.
As I quickly type this, I’m fighting a sore throat and realizing that I’ve been moving too fast and should probably get some rest soon. But I wouldn’t change a thing. This has been such a fabulous thrill ride this month and I’ve been meeting so many new artists from all over the planet. With so many various styles of painting and sketching in one amazing group of people, I’ve never been more inspired in my entire life. If I could, I would invite every one of you over for a lovely dinner. If you happened to come during the summer months, you’d be sure to find some fresh tomatoes. Once we’ve enjoyed them, though, we can just go back to being kids again. And make some laugh lines together.