Re: Advice

Subject: Re: Advice
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2001 11:44:15 -0700

tsullivan -at- netexpress -dot- net wrote:

Just before the turn of the century (late 1800's) the masses here in the United States believed tomatoes were poisonous. No one grew them or ate them.

I'm not sure of the man's name or his profession, but he publicly claimed that tomatoes were not only non-toxic, but were delicious and healthful. He of course was scoffed and ridiculed.

So in order to prove his point he promoted an event where he would eat a raw tomato on the steps of the Monument on the Circle in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

The word spread quickly about this man and his claim. As promised, he stood in the center of Indianapolis' busy downtown and ate his tomato before a huge throng. The crowds were horrified when he ate the tomato, but found that tomatoes were no more harmful than any other fruit.

This story sounded like an urban legend to me, so I spent a few moments doing a web search.

According to,I was right.

For what it's worth, the story is usually told of one Robert Gibbon Johnson, and is said to have taken place on September 26, 1820, on the courthouse steps of Salem New Jersey.

Johnson probably became identified with the story because he was a major promoter of the use of tomatoes, which did become more popular about that time. The setting is explained by the fact that New Jersey was the site of some of the first tomato canning factories.

Sorry to debunk. If it's any consolation, tracking down the story did provide about fifteen minutes of entertainment for me.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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