That tomato did WHAT?!!! September 15, 2011Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, wit and wisdom.
Tags: best-tasting tomatoes, decline of English language, English, English irregular verbs, English language, tomatoes
Our friend Ben got an e-mail this morning from Territorial Seed Company (www.territorialseed.com) announcing the winners of its Great Northwest Tomato Taste-Off. Ha, this will be a fun way to start the day, I thought. I opened the e-mail to read the following: “Competition was fierce, but one tomato outshined all the others.”
Say what?! Whatever happened to “outshone”?!! Last time I looked, the past tense of shine was shone, with one exception: When someone shines (polishes) shoes, in which case, the shoes were shined. But that’s because “shine” in the case of shoe polishing is slang; the shoes shine, but no one can really “shine” them; rather, by polishing them, they cause the shoes to shine. The same is true if you say that you shine silver, brass or another metal rather than polishing it.
For the sake of my sanity, I’m going to assume that the winning tomato wasn’t selected because its shoe- or metal-shining abilities were greater than those of its competition, but rather because it tasted better. It outshone its rivals in the matter of flavor. (Mind you, it wouldn’t surprise our friend Ben to discover that someone, somewhere, has tried to shine shoes with tomatoes, but that’s a different matter.)
The abrupt departure of what are called irregular past tenses—those that aren’t formed by adding “-ed” to the end of present-tense verbs—from our language makes our friend Ben sad. I’m stunned every time I read or hear “kneeled” used as the past tense of “kneel” rather than “knelt.” No doubt “weeped” is being used somewhere instead of “wept,” “sleeped” has displaced “slept,” and “dreamt” has been consigned to Shakespearian archives. English is such an inherently rich and diverse language, I hate to see it flattened out.
But I know you’re actually more interested in which tomato won the competition than in my rantings about the decline of the English language, however, so here’s the spoiler: ‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’ (and yes, that really is the name of a tomato) narrowly edged out—I mean, outshined—the beloved ‘Red Brandywine’ (#2) and ‘Early Girl’ (#3) to take the title.