You Say Tomato and I Say Jitomate

by Angeles Correa Enríquez

We Mexicans are often confused by our neighbors north of the border. When the first Americans started to come to Mexico, we were confused about what exactly they wanted when they asked for a "tomato." For us there are two kind of tomatos. The small green one we call "tomate." The other, the red one, we call "jitomate" (hee-toe-mah-tay). The word "jitomate" comes from the Nahuatl language, the language of the Aztec's, "Xitomatl." "Xi" means red. Remember, red = jitomate" and green = tomate."

We know that the red tomato, jitomate, has a kind of sweet taste. The green tomato has a subtle, sour flavor. We make several traditional sauces with these tomatos.

The most typical Mexican sauce with red tomato is made as follows:
Boil tomatoes seven minutes or roast a little bit or use raw.
Blend with onion, garlic, chili and a little bit of salt.
You can leave out the chili.

The green tomato sauce is made the same like the red tomato, but you can add one avocato and a little bit of cilantro.

Editor's note-
I have a Mexican version of the Gershwin classic referred to in the title of this article:
You say aquí and I say acá.
You say allí and I say allá.
Aquí. Acá, Allí. Allá.
Let's call the whole thing off.

**************

Angeles Correa Enríquez was born in Mexico City. Her father, who served the Mexican Government as First Official Account and Financial Adviser, signing the first paper money, was born in San Miguel de Allende. Angeles often came on vacation to San Miguel. She moved here in 1966.

Angeles translated the novel Aztec into Spanish. She worked in the Instituto Allende, giving classes on Spanish Literature and Spanish Language. She currently teaches English to Americans and neighborhood children in Colonia San Antonio.

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