Books: Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato

| Fri Apr. 9, 2010 6:00 AM EDT

May/June 2010 Issue

The latest in a wave of single-serving foodographies (Cod, Salt, Banana, etc.), Ripe investigates the tomato's transformation from fresh vegetable to industrial ingredient. Allen's most disturbing discovery is the use of anti-ripening genes that keep tomatoes perpetually firm—perfect for McDonald's burgers, canned pizza sauce, and long stays in produce bins. Too bad they're often tasteless. But as one tomato tycoon quips, "A poor tomato is better than no tomato at all."

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