After a solid week of tomato-love the goodness has come to an end. This morning I had ten of the finest tomatoes in all the land and now, two meals later, I’m lonely and wanting more. Both meals were perfectly simple, benign even, but not lacking in flavor or care. Tomatoes shared with friends are the best ones and I think they reveal some deeper truths, both about food and not.

Lunch was grilled cheese and tomato. I could live off these for years, switching the cheeses and bread and occasional condiments. Even my plebeian cheddar and whole grain bread was an immaculate combination of sweet and savory, smooth and crunchy. That’s what food is about: combinations of characteristics that synergize into a greater whole. It reveals a truth that’s something I have to think about every time I cook, simple is almost always better. With a full cabinet of spices and accoutrement it’s so easy to guild the proverbial lily and end up with an inferior product, so don’t. I’ve done it enough times to realize that less is more in cooking. Some of the best restaurants in the world depend on minimalist productions of the finest ingredients they can find, and they’re all the better for it.

I used the rest of the tomatoes for a simple tomato sauce with curly pasta. It was one of the best dishes I’ve cooked I think and proves my point about simplicity being integral to truly good or even great cooking. Two friends and I ate our pasta and talked life philosophy. My friend Francis brought up the “food is like sex” idea and explained that it’s a part of life that becomes so much more when you take a minute to appreciate and savor it. Yes, food is nourishment, but in the right mindset and context it can be a lot more.

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