One of our favorite New Orleans musicians is Kermit Ruffins. We try to see him at the Blue Nile on Frenchman when we can. One thing he continually says that gets the crowd going is "We Partyin'!" You kind of have to be there, but here's a clip I found online so you have a frame of reference:
Anyways, earlier this week we had my family over for dinner. It's the middle of summer here which means our gardens are booming and our CSA is full of fresh veggies. This is awesome, but sometimes we are over run with peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. More than we can possibly eat just the two of us. So I decided maybe it would be fun to chop up the different varieties and do a taste test.
A few years ago Bryan and I were at the downtown Memphis Farmer's Market and they were doing a tomato tasting. There were tons of different varieties and you could taste them all and vote for your favorite. I never found out which one won, but I remember loving the idea. Why not have it on a smaller scale at home?
I cut up 4 different varieties of tomatoes, 4 varieties of peppers, 2 varieties of cucumber, and opened 4 different jars of homemade pickles.
I wish I had taken a better picture but halfway through the evening I remembered to take this one with my phone.
I printed off ballots and made everyone taste everything and vote. Okay, well not everyone. The kids didn't care so much. But most everyone did and they enjoyed it. And then we talked about which peppers and tomatoes were our favorites and why. It's great conversation fodder.
After dinner I tallied up the votes. Pickles and cucumbers were a draw. The bullhorn pepper was the favorite pepper. But the Bradley tomato was the clear winner of the evening. It scored all the tomato votes. Both the Bradley and the bullhorn pepper came in our latest CSA bag. Which I guess means, they will need to be on my "to-plant" list for next year.
You don't have to do four different things or even four different varieties to do a taste off. But for your next party or gathering, consider using some of the fresh produce to sample the different heirloom treasures this season provides. It may open a guests eyes to heirloom vegetables or just a new variety. At the very least it helps clean out your fridge!