The nineteenth century was a third gone before the world on this side of the sea began to appreciate the beneficent qualities of what our foremothers used to call "love apples." There is no other vegetable that is of more value as a liver regulator and blood-cooler than the tomato. The small quantity of calomel it contains acts as a corrective of biliousness, and stimulates all the secretions of the body to activity. Eaten raw, it is cooling and delicious, and it may be cooked in so many and varied forms that one does not soon weary of it.
In the average home it appears as a salad, in soup, stewed, and perhaps baked or scalloped. When it has been thus served many housekeepers consider that they have exhausted its capabilities. On the contrary, they have hardly touched upon its possibilities.
The increasing familiarity with sauces as the cook's potent aids in converting old dishes into new, has made tomato sauce popular as an accompaniment of certain compounds of macaroni, but even those who use the sauce in this manner do not all know how admirable it is served with boiled or baked fish, or with roast mutton, or as a vehicle for shrimps, or as a zest for eggs. Apart from this, the tomato, not made into a sauce, but employed either fresh or canned, may come to the table in a variety of easily-prepared and savory combinations that will appeal to the family caterer as being the new and inexpensive dishes she is always seeking.
Never scald them. Pare and strip off the skins. Set on ice until you are ready to serve. Cut up quickly, lay within a chilled bowl and season, as you serve, with French dressing.
Cut off the tops of large, firm tomatoes and carefully remove most of the pulp. Keep pulp and tomatoes in the refrigerator while you peel and cut into small dice ice-cold cucumbers. Mix the cucumber dice with the tomato pulp, fill the tomato shells, set them on crisp lettuce leaves and pour a great spoonful of mayonnaise dressing over each.
Cut firm tomatoes into thick slices and fry them until tender in a couple of spoonfuls of butter. Have ready a white sauce made by cooking together a tablespoonful, each, of butter and flour to the bubbling point, and then pouring upon them a half-pint of milk - or, better still, a half-pint of mingled milk and cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, dish the tomatoes and turn the sauce upon them, after seasoning them suitably with pepper and salt.
Peel, slice and put a quart of tomatoes over the fire in a nickel-steel-plated or agate saucepan - never in tin. Stew fast twenty minutes. Season with a lump of butter rolled in flour, a tea-spoonful of sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and two teaspoonfuls of onion juice. Stew five minutes longer, and serve.
Some cooks substitute fine dry crumbs for the flour. Unless some thickening is used, the tomatoes will be watery and thin.