To•ma•to

noun, sing.: a round, soft, red fruit; a way to explain Europe's economic mess

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It is still a matter of dispute whether it was the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés or Christopher Columbus who deserves credit for taking the tomato with him from the New World to the Old, but once transported, the tomato made itself at home. Mediterranean countries in particular had the sun, soil and skill to cultivate luscious fruits. (Yes, it is a fruit.) Tomatoes, as much as garlic and olives, were a southern-European product. Up in the frosty north, on the other hand, tomatoes from the Netherlands used to be derided by the Germans as recently as the 1990s as Wasserbomben (water...

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