Monday, 4 February 2013

Fruit or Vegetable?

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Here's Molly Mouse and Harland Sheepdog having their breakfast! Molly is telling Harland about the homework she got back from Mrs Roo yesterday. Their class has been studying food groups, she explained, and she had classified tomatoes as a "vegetable" and not a "fruit". 

"I don't know why Mrs Roo said it was wrong," Molly told Harland sadly.

"Well, did she explain to you all what exactly a fruit is, and what exactly a vegetable is?" asked Harland.

"No..." Molly replied slowly.

"Then how would you know?" Harland asked.

"I don't know! Maybe it's something we're supposed to just know in our hearts!" Molly said.

"That's just silly," Harland said. "First, you have to know what makes a fruit a fruit, and what makes a vegetable a vegetable. But I can tell you why tomatoes are fruits and not vegetables. My Daddy helps take care of the garden and he knows all about it. He told me that if it has seeds, then it is a fruit. So, tomatoes are fruits. That also makes things like cucumbers, peppers and squash fruit. Of course, we also eat other parts of the plant, like the leaves or stems; those are vegetables".

"But you know," Harland continued, "My Daddy told me that the Supreme Court in a faraway country called the United States ruled that the tomato is a vegetable. They said that only if it was eaten in hand or in a dessert could it be classified as a fruit. Consumers think of tomatoes as vegetables, and that is how they should be legally defined".

"Ooh, you're really smart!" Molly said, impressed. "Thank you for explaining to me! Although I think then that a tomato could be a fruit or a vegetable, depending on if you were talking to a botanist or a chef!"

"You're right!" Harland said, and they both laughed and ate their tomato salad.