Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Tomatoes started out as small, bitter berries growing on bushes in the west coast deserts of South America. Today, after their domestication in Mexico (their name comes from the Aztec term for “plump fruit,” tomatl), and a period of European suspicion that lasted into the 19th century, they’re eaten all over the world in a great variety of sizes, shapes, and carotenoid-painted colors. In the United States they’re second in vegetable popularity only to the potato, a starchy staple.