Best laid plans
We have been making passata di pomodoro at Italian kinder ever since the first time we ran the program, some 20 years ago. It provides such a strong connection with Italo-Australian culture.
We have refined the process over time, and have improved the tools. We have a great machine to put the tomatoes through to separate the skin and seeds from the passata. We have some padded toy tomatoes made by one of the mums one year that we can play with. These days we have kiddie kutter knives that cut tomatoes but not fingers. We have a song to sing to bed down the language. We have a book we made in class. We have a veggie patch where we can grow tomatoes.
I make passata at home with my family too. This year I guessed which weekend we might be doing it at home, and we planned to do it at work the following week – that would mean I could get some tomatoes from home to use at work.
It turned out to be a bad year for tomatoes. Shortages everywhere. My husband pulled out all his Calabrian connections to score 16 cases of best roma tomatoes – we were all set. At the end of our long Sunday, as I was putting my tomato drenched clothes in the wash I remembered I had forgotten to put aside the half case for kinder.
On Monday morning, I went to Safeway at 7.00 am only to discover they don’t stock sauce tomatoes. I had to wait until it was almost time to be at work for La Manna to open. I started filling a bag with roma tomatoes – luckily my husband had come too. He pointed out that the ones I was getting were not ripe enough. He was bold enough to go and ask the management if we could have some ripe ones for sauce, for the kids at kinder.
We made passata for another year.