Supreme Court to rule on bakery’s refusal to serve tomatoes

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Even though eating tomatoes was formally legalized, the tomato debate never truly ended.

Apollo Yong | Cavalier Daily

Do tomatoes have equal protections as other fruits? The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to finally give a ruling on this hot-button issue. The anticipated resolution of the landmark case, Master Fruitcake Shop v. Tomato Civil Rights Commission, will influence the future of Leafy Green, Bean, Tomato and Quinoa (LGBTQ) rights in America.

The case is the result of a disagreement from 2012, in which a bakery refused to put tomatoes in a couple’s wedding fruitcake. The crux of the argument was whether tomatoes were fruits or vegetables.

“Tomatoes are not fruits,” claims conservative bakery owner Julio Mild. “They are fake fruits. I was raised to believe that tomatoes are vegetables, and vegetables don’t belong in fruitcakes. Only fruit do. Who wants a tomato in a fruitcake, anyway? It’s obscene. I shouldn’t be forced to make a fruitcake against my beliefs.”

Mild’s comments were quickly noticed by the right side of the produce aisle. The phrase “fake fruits” has become a colloquialism used heavily by conservatives to unilaterally end any sort of discussion, even when fruits aren’t relevant.

Avery and Jordan, the couple that requested a tomato fruitcake, argues that tomatoes can be both fruits and vegetables. “We’re a Progresso family,” says Avery. “We believe that a tomato’s identity is up to the individual. If someone identifies a tomato as a fruit, then it is a fruit. We want others to respect this. This is an issue is about acceptance.”

“The baker is allergic to tomatoes,” adds Jordan. “He needs to get over his intolerance.”

Critics of the couple call their demands hypocritical. By forcing the baker to include tomatoes in his cakes, the couple is imposing their own ideology onto another.

Several celebrities have commented on the tomato dilemma, both for and against putting tomatoes in fruitcakes. Of note, legendary French pastry chef and star of “Hell’s Kitchenette,” Bourbon Lambsey, likened the issue to the infamous “Pineapple Pizza” case from 2000, in which a former Eagle Scout and assistant scoutmaster had his title revoked for preferring unconventional toppings.

“Maybe you find tomatoes in fruitcakes disgusting,” says Lambsey. “Personally, I also think the taste is revolting. However, I have no right to tell others where to stick their tomatoes. De gustibus. Don’t argue over tastes. As long as everyone consents, anything goes behind closed kitchen doors.”

The legality of tomatoes has been in question for a long time. At one point, the very act of eating a tomato was outlawed. In 1986, a couple was arrested in Georgia for tossing a salad that contained tomatoes, even though its consumption was consensual. Supporters of the couple argued that all tossed salad should be equal, but naysayers claimed that legalizing tomatoes would lead to people wanting to toss other things, like dogs. In a strong blow to tomato rights the Supreme Court ruled that the arrest was legal and banned tomatoes from all salads. Salad lovers had to eat tomatoes in secrecy until the decision was overturned 17 years later.

Even though eating tomatoes was formally legalized, the tomato debate never truly ended. In 2017, a case surfaced in which a student, who identified tomatoes as a fruit, wanted to have a tomato in a fruit salad. Culinary conservatives refused to allow this and said that a tomato’s identity is irrelevant and that they only belonged in vegetable salads. Although the Supreme Court initially announced that they would accept this case, it was ultimately rejected, leaving the masses to squabble over which salads tomatoes should be allowed in.

No matter what the Supreme Court ultimately decides, the tomato’s future is unclear. Whether tomatoes become normalized as fully-fledged fruits is a mystery that only time will tell.

Apollo Yong is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at humor@cavalierdaily.com. 

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