Tomatoes and aubergines
The tomato polytunnel at Victoriana Nursery Gardens

For me, the internet is a bit like the Discworld’s special library dimension, L-space. Or perhaps a bit like Narnia, where you wander in to a virtual polytunnel, exit through the back door and find yourself somewhere else entirely.

I regularly find myself on a magical mystery tour of fascinating discoveries, in which it’s possible to lose hours without thinking about it. I have been on one this morning, which I thought you might like to share.

It began with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his tinned tomato recipes, which actually sound quite tasty, and do-able in a shared student kitchen. Except I don’t currently have an oven-proof dish with me, but this is why they invented pound shops.

At this point I left the real live internet and wandered in to the realm of Evernote, a fascinating piece of software that lets you preserve bits of the internet forever and ever, thereby entirely missing the point 😉 But it also allows you to tag, file and search for them later, and I use it as an extension of my brain, which is quite full these days. I squirrel away treasures to refer to later, some of which get lost in dusty piles. But the joy of Evernote is that you never know when they’re going to resurface.

Whilst I was filing away Hugh’s tomato recipes, Evernote sent me to back a delightful New York Times article about whether tomato leaves are poisonous or not. It’s a discussion of folk lore and plant chemistry, looking at the alkaloids that are present in tomato leaves (alkaloids being one of the topics we touched on in last week’s plant chemisty class).

If you’re brave enough to try it, you’re also directed to a recipe for Leafy Tomato Sauce.

It was at this point that hunger pulled me back into the real world and I wandered off to get some breakfast (the Librarian* not having left any handy bunches of bananas lying around).

But the internet had one more gem up its sleeve this morning, which I found when I came back to the blogs that I subscribe to (via Google Reader, which keeps them all nice and tidy for me). Wolfgang Stuppy of the Millennium Seed Bank waxing lyrical about the flowers of the ‘weird and wonderful snake gourd’, which is lovely enough in and of itself. But it contains the intriguing line “Inside they contain a soft, red, tomato-like pulp that can be used as a tomato-substitute in cooking.”

Now if that doesn’t get you scrabbling for the seed catalogues, I don’t know what will. But in the event you depart on a magical mystery tour of your own today, do come back and tell us where you ended up 🙂