23 August 2008

fruit or vegetable?

Rochester Public Market / Rochester, New York
In case you've been losing sleep over the perennial summer question of whether a tomato is a fruit or vegetable, this agonizing dilemma was settled by the US Supreme Court in 1893. The Court declared that the tomato was a vegetable and not a fruit.. BUT apparently only as it relates to tariff law in that there was a duty applied to imported vegetables but not fruits. Records indicate the Court's official interpretation was based on the popular dictionary definition at the time which classified a vegetable as an accompaniment to your main entré at dinner, but not eaten as a dessert. With today's trends in culinary weirdness, a court of law could no longer fall back on such a definition. Clearly, vegetable is a culinary term and not a botanical classification. Botanically-speaking, the tomato remains a fruit, or more precisely the berry of a flowering plant.

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