Posted by Captain Everett on August 25, 1998 at 22:38:42:
In response to Thanks, Patricia, written by Linden on August 25, 1998 at 20:17:42
] I wonder whether tomatoes became more popular with the Peninsular War,...? [snip]
I cannot speak to how widely adopted tomatoes became in the United Kingdom as a result of the thousands of soldiers serving in the Peninsula. I found a few references to them in Anthony Brett-James, Life in Wellington's Army.
One infantry officer noted, "Our standard dishes for supper were a certain portion of ration beef made up into soup, with rice, turnips, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. These being long stewed the soup was nutritious and the beef was always tender." It appears, as mentioned in one of the other posts, that tomatoes, if they were served, were almost always in a cooked form. However, it seems that while a few took to tomatoes and other articles of Spanish and Portugese cooking, many found they did not suit an English palate. Garlic was another item many found, "so grateful to the Spanish appetite, but so uncongenial to the English stomach." Politeness to one's hosts (if a meal was offered), and hunger provided other motivation. A few did develop a taste for culinary experimentation, but the majority appear to have preferred their own fare. To modern tastes it might have been exceedingly bland, (and in many cases less nutritious), but it was familiar and "British."
I remain, etc.
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