The girls I work with at My Refuge House give me great joy. Today I was to have my college prep class for three girls starting college in October. We usually focus on writing so they can improve grammar, sentence structure, and so forth. However, today one of the girls came into my office and asked about making fried green tomatoes. I had the several questions, the most important being:
Me: Where on earth did you hear about fried green tomatoes?
Hope: They are a Southern thing right?
Me: Well yes, but that hardly explains how YOU know about them.
Hope: I think I read about them somewhere and looked them up on the internet. I want to see if they taste as good as I imagine.
Me: Ok then, go down to the corner store to get the ingredients and we will cook for class today.
Of course I had never made fried green tomatoes before, even though I am proudly from Kentucky, but that never actually matters during Peace Corps service. Most of what I am asked to do I have never done, and trust me, this was one of the easiest things I had been asked so I was pretty thrilled to try it out with the girls. They went down to the store and purchased the needed goods and then picked the green tomatoes from our aqua-phonics garden outside. While they were doing this I quickly looked up the easiest recipe online to make sure I had some idea how this was to be done and could maintain a little bit of control during the process.
We began by washing and cutting the tomatoes, beating some eggs, and putting the flour mixture in a separate bowl. I tried showing them how to cut the tomatoes thinly (as my internet site had told me to do), but they kept almost slicing their fingers so I took the knife back and encouraged them to try practicing on something easier than a small, slippery tomato. The flour mixture was great because we bought a pack of garlic flour and just added some pepper – if we did not have the packet we would have used flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, but most ingredients were already included. We set up a small assembly line for dipping the tomatoes into the egg, then coating them in flour, before frying them for about 1-2 minutes on each side.
We really had such a great time and they were each proud of themselves for creating something completely new. My favorite photo is above and shows one of the girls holding a lid as a shield to protect herself from the hot oil as she fried all of the tomatoes, they all laughed and had an enjoyable time together. It was also nice because it took us all away from our different writing projects and gave us something fun to work on for a while and allowed us to bond while cooking – one of the best ways to bond in my personal opinion. Bonus points for also cooking something delicious. I think we were all surprised by how ‘lami’ (yummy) they turned out, all the girls loved them as the food was passed around, and the girls were pretty pleased with themselves. The prospect of college is a little nerve wrecking for them all and this was the perfect activity to relax and break away from the stress. I will now be making these frequently because they really were amazing!
Flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper (you can also add any other spices you want)
Cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Dip tomatoes into egg and then coat with flour mix. Heat oil over medium flame and then fry the tomatoes for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Boom. Done.