I hate tomato soup. When I write ‘hate’, I don’t mean ‘dislike’ or ‘I’m not really a fan of..’, I mean REALLY hate it. Tomato soup is my mortal enemy. I spend a large part of my day writing letters to the authorities demanding that it be withdrawn from sale and that anyone caught making it at home be executed using a lethal tomato based injection. My nights are consumed with recurring dreams of being chased by fifty seven giant cans of Heinz Tomato Soup. Those moments in a restaurant, before you have your answer to the question; “What’s the soup of the day?” are incredibly traumatic. If the answer is the dastardly ‘Tomato’ then my negative Trip Advisor review is complete before the warm water accompanying the spare rib starter ordered instead has cooled.
So what’s my beef with tomatoes? For a start it’s not beef tomatoes or any other variety of tomato. I’m actually quite partial to a nice cheese and tomato sandwich and I recognise what they bring to a decent pizza. My issue is solely with tomato soup and it’s all down to a traumatic childhood experience I suffered on a family day out to a factory that makes the atrocious stuff.
It was mid way through the factory tour and I’d just finished questioning my parents as to why we were spending our precious family time watching soup being made? rather than being locked in the back of a car outside a pub with some panda cola and salt and vinegar crisps, while they made merry inside, like normal families do? when I tripped (I wasn’t really I was pushed by one of my siblings, to this day I’m not sure which one, probably my middle sister Amy) and fell in the giant vat of tomato soup being prepared before it was put in cans and distributed to retail outlets where it could be sold to lunatics.
As I slowly sank I remember thinking that I wish this had been a vat of mulligatawny soup instead as I’d never tried that and this would of been a useful opportunity. Upon reaching the bottom it quickly dawned on me that the only way I was going to get out of this ‘fine mess’ was to eat all of the soup in the vat before I drowned. Obviously I could also have just swam back up to the top and climbed out but sometimes ‘hindsight’s a wonderful thing’.
Anyway, I began to eat. Tomato soup wasn’t my favourite, even then, and this particular batch was in serious need of some decent seasoning. Oh what I would have done for some basil or oregano that dark day!
After what seemed like an eternity I finally finished the last mouthful of the soup and was free from my liquid tomato hell. I was actually quite pleased with myself but this positivity wasn’t to last long as I saw the look on my families faces. I’d eaten so much I’d bloated up like a giant ball and my skin had taken on the red of, you guessed it, a tomato. Instead of being taken to hospital my family immediately agreed amongst themselves that the opportunity to make money and maximise my humiliation was too big to miss so they dyed my hair green and sold me to a travelling circus that just happened to be passing the factory gates at exactly that moment.
So the rest of my childhood was spent being taken around the world and exhibited as ‘tomato boy’ alongside ‘hot dog girl’ and ‘guacamole granny’ as part of a freak show. I suspect I’d still be there now if, whilst at a festival in Bulgaria, I hadn’t seen a chance to escape and when I was free hadn’t had the good fortune to find a clinic that specialised in turning tomatoes into boys.
Once I’d been turned back to normal, or at least as normal as someone who has suffered this kind of childhood living nightmare can be, I made my way back into the bosom of my family. As time went by I learned to forgive them but I have never been able to rid myself of my hatred for tomato soup. Hopefully now, you can understand the very good reason why!