In Europe, where it was taken by the Spanish, the tomato was grown only as a ornamental for many years. Eating tomatoes was considered certain to prove fatal.
Even in North America, it has been only in the past 150 years that people mustered enough courage to try eating them. That all changed starting on the courthouse steps in Salem, New Jersey, at twelve o'clock noon on September 26, 1820, when Colonel Robert G. Johnson ate not one, but a basketful of tomatoes. He not only lived, he wasn't a bit ill following his demonstration.
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