Tomato - the food of the French Revolution - the Awesome World of Things

The tomato which is native to the Americas was first cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas as early as 700 A.D.
It is presumed that the tomato found its' way across the Atlantic following the Spanish conquests of Mexico.
The name "tomato" derives from "tomatl," its name in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec people.
Tomatoes are related to the deadly nightshade, a poisonous plant which has been used as both a hallucinogenic drug and a beauty aid in Europe. Also know via the Latin name of "belladonna", meaning beautiful woman, it was used in the medieval courts of Europe where ladies would apply a few drops of nightshade extract to their eyes to dilate their pupils, a look considered most fashionable at the time.
During the French Revolution in addition to beheading aristocrats, the patriotic Republican citizens of Paris would wear red caps as a mark of faith in the Republic. A zealous chef suggested that the mobs should eat red food to demonstrate their devotion to the revolution.
They ate tomatoes which were unpopular amongst the wealthy upper class. This was due to a misconception amongst wealthy Europeans that they were poisonous. This was because the rich used pewter plates to serve food, which contained high lead content. Combined with tomatoes' acidity, the tableware would leach lead, often resulting in the diner's death.
 


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