Tomatoes for Your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is again upon us — another year has passed! Time to run to the store and buy some flowers and chocolates for your Valentine. But why not tomatoes?


That’s right, tomatoes. They have the perfect color for Valentine’s Day, and surely they have the perfect name for it. In many languages the tomato is as referred as love apple: jablko milosci in Polish, Liebesapfel in German, and pomme d’amour in French.

Naturally, the love apple has not escaped being thought of as an aphrodisiac — how perfect for Valentine’s Day! There was a time when the belief in the power of the tomato made many young women afraid to eat them.

The tomato was introduced to the United States in the 19th century, but for a long time was thought to be poisonous. It took a while for the tomato to be accepted as an eatable vegetable, although botanically it is a fruit.

So for Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t it be nice to offer your Valentine a love apple instead of chocolates? It would be a healthier gift, no doubt, as tomatoes are well known for their nutritional value.

When I say tomatoes, I think about tomatoes grown in the garden and vine-ripened. I think about summer, and the texture and smell of the soil.

Small tomatoes on the vine Large tomatoes on the vine

Ever since childhood tomatoes have been very special to me. Perhaps I have some gene of an Italian? Italians developed a whole folklore around tomatoes and many ways of preparing them. I am especially thankful for the invention of delicious Italian spaghetti sauce.

Oh well, I simply love tomatoes! I love to eat them, I love to cook them, and I love to photograph them (I used to grow them too — back east, in Massachusetts). One might say that I glorify tomatoes. Here are two of my photographs in that category — glorified tomatoes — for your Valentine’s Day.

Tomato on a pedestal
On the Pedestal The Onset Review
cover, summer 1990

I took this photo some time ago while visiting Poland and later used it on the cover of the literary magazine which I published for a short time on the Cape

"Just 4 You" by Alicja Mann

This photo was taken last summer in Massachusetts. I harvested the little tomatoes from my son’s garden, photographed them and I titled the picture Just 4 You. Last fall it was included in a collective exhibit of Tucson’s artists.

"Just 4 You" - tomatoes at an exhibition
Tomatoes. The accumulation of sun and warmth under their tender skin is so unmistakably delicious. They bring memories of picnics, swimming, green grass, and roses. They could bring memories of Valentine’s Day as well.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What I wrote today is a short variation of an essay Valentine Tomatoes in my book Looking at the World Twice.

In the spirit of Valentine giving I have an offer for you. If you subscribe to my blog between now and 15th of March, I will send you a gift (shipping costs included).
Please choose one of the following:
1. Photo print of Just 4 You size 10×10
2. Photo print of On the Pedestal size 8×10
3. My book (winner of several awards) Looking at the World Twice
E-mail your choice and mailing information to or call me at 520-344-7440.

* * *

Copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann

Explore posts in the same categories: Feelings, Memories, Opinions, Photo stories, Thoughts

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9 Comments on “Tomatoes for Your Valentine”

  1. Constance Graham Says:

    I enjoyed reading this chapter in your book, but more so this second time around.
    Tomatoes (salsa?)… this year for Valentine’s day!

    • Alicja Mann Says:

      Hello Connie,

      Thank you for reminding me about salsa. Salsa is so common in this area (Southwest) and consequently easy to be taken for granted.

      However, salsa dancing should not be forgotten. What a great and sexy dance – perfect for Valentine’s Day! We should practice it for next year’s Valentine’s party.

  2. Jennifer Richardson Says:

    I never considered tomatoes as representing love, much less Valentine’s day. When I think of this upcoming holiday, I mostly invasion Hallmark greeting cards and, as you mentioned, chocolates. I much prefer this idea of a natural, healthy and earth-derived offering for a loved one. Perhaps on a pizza?

  3. Hello, Alicja.

    I am new to WordPress and saw your comment on another blog. I am just trying to get acquainted with other bloggers who might have similar interests. I am also an author and a publisher (plus being a teacher and minister), and I am 1/4 Polish.

    I enjoyed your essay on tomatoes so much, and a couple of those photos are so real that I could smell again that special tart-sweet, spicy, earthy scent that was the hallmark of my grandfather’s garden when I spent time there with him on hot, hot summer days. Thank you.

    • Hello again.
      I am posting a second comment because I have been having a lot of trouble getting my “hanginoutwithgod” link to take people back to that blog site. It has been taking them to another blog I have called “happypatriot.” The Happiness Engineers are trying to fix the problem, and I’m writing to ask if you would be willing — whenever you have time — to click on the link to this comment and see if it takes you to the right blog.

      If you would just reply here — or e-mail me either one — and let me know what happens, I would really appreciate it. I am pretty new at blogging, and I’m hoping these problems get fixed so that I can enjoy it more. Thanks so much.

  4. Alicja Mann Says:

    Hello Sandra,

    Thank you for your “delicious” comment dated 02.21.11 about my tomatoes essay and photos. It was a real treat for me to read it! And by the way – which part of you is 1/4 Polish?

    Sandra, I am sorry for this delay in responding to your “Hello again” questions posted on the very next day, but I have been very busy lately.
    Here are my answers. When I click on your name, Sandra Conner, the link takes me to your “hangingoutwithgod” blog. When I click on “hangingoutwithgod”, the link takes me to “happy patriot” -“We the People” blog.

    I truly hope that this information helps you.
    So you are writing two blogs? Have fun and good luck.

    • Yes, I am the eternal optimist you’ve always heard about. My thought was, if I can do one, why not two? The real reason is that I wanted to use the “hanginoutwithgod” site to focus exclusively on helping people receive good things from the Lord, but I wanted another outlet for discussions on numerous topics. I even had thoughts about using these two to learn on and then setting up a separate blog strictly as an author’s site.

      Well, I won’t get in a hurry to do that. But I THINK the Happiness Engineers have won this round, and I truly appreciate your taking the time to help me. Please don’t apologize for taking time to answer. I understand being busy, and all of this communicating takes much time and energy. I don’t usually take advantage of people I have just “met.” But you and one other author that I communicate with were my only sources of information on this. We got it to where my own computer would take me to the correct blog, but I had to be sure someone else’s would. I think the only problem remaining is on the link I posted before the Happiness Engineers went to work on it, so I’m going to ignore that.

      Thanks again. My polish blood comes from my grandmother on my dad’s side. My grandfather on that side is Bulgarian. On my mother’s side I am Scottish and Cherokee. When all of that’s added together, I guess I’m a Real American!

      Blessings to you.

  5. […] Alicja Mann Waves Notes on events, ideas & places « Tomatoes for Your Valentine […]

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