the first tomato

There are two things on my mind this morning, seemingly unrelated, and I am sorry to say that while they will involve food, they won’t come with a new recipe, just one that’s been posted here before. You could say they’re two culminations, the kind that build for months and months, the kind that reached fruition this week, like recipes that rumble around in your head until you make them or tastes that stay with you until one day, you’re at a party and someone hands you a cracker with an interesting spread, and you say, aha! this is what I been wanting! That’s what they’re like.

The first is my hair—my crazy, thick, unmanageable, always shedding, wavy, enormous head of hair—which, as of yesterday at 3:45 PM, I can hold in my hand. After years of saying I was going to cut and donate it, months of talking to other people who had, weeks of vacillating back and forth between waiting longer or just doing it now, I went for it. What one day was this, the next became this. 18 months of growing. In a moment. In the snip of a scissors. Just like that. GONE. Now, this new look? I hate it; I love it. It excites me; it terrifies me. And every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, I have to pause to remember that’s me.

The second thing is my tomatoes—my constantly growing, constantly stretching plants filled with leaves, then green fruit, then out of nowhere RED TOMATOES everywhere I could see.

I like to study the progression:

green little tomato plants

baby tomatoes

orange tomatoes

red tomatoes

Isn’t it amazing? Awe-inspiring? That, with time, something can grow and change and be not at all what it was like before? Change is funny that way though. Even after building for so much time, it can culminate in moments: You can quit your job. You can make babka. You can chop off an entire head of hair. Tomatoes can turn red.

And of course, other changes happen too, less dramatically: you finish the loaf of bread, you make a morning smoothie, you clip your hair back today. But anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about today, that’s what I’m celebrating: that things are growing, changing always.

Oh, and PS: those tomatoes? They changed again—into Jacqui’s tomato basil bisque. Just like that.

tomato basil bisque

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Tim

    Time is ticking away, so let’s get busy resting and relaxing and being quiet… ok, ok, and working.

  2. Lan

    as always, utterly beautiful post.
    and the tomatoes! what you can create from them: gazpacho! tomato sauce! bruschetta! or just eatten raw, straight from the vine, in the sun. lovely.

  3. Jenny

    love the new hair. :-)

  4. sarah @ syrupandhoney

    Love the hair! I’m sure it would take some getting used to…and longer for you than people who see you, because how often do we really look at ourselves in the mirror? Seems like a great summer cut.

  5. Kathryn

    I’m in the slow process of growing my hair out after chopping it a year and a half ago. I went from this to this. I kept it short for about a year, now I’m growing it out again, though posts like this make me want to chop it all off again. I love short hair! I love long hair! I’m conflicted! haha

  6. jordan

    love the hair!

  7. Allison Jones

    The hair looks fantastic! My little cherry toms are all starting to blush as well. What a treat when gardening pays off!

  8. Kim Shenberger

    your hair is darling!

  9. Alicia

    Ahhhh I love it! Your hair! And that’s coming from someone who hates short hair! But seriously, it looks so cute and fashionable! You’re lucky you have the option of adorable short hair… mine would be a curly afro, I CAN’T cut it that short. I can’t wait to see it in person. And as for the tomatoes… I will gladly take some off your hands if you have too many to eat. 😉

  10. Tammy

    Your new haircut is ADORABLE! Love it. I love change – it always seems to put a spring in my step and make me look at everything a little clearer, a little brighter. Happy day to you! And ohhhhhhhh tomatoes – must get my hands on some farmer’s market finds as I couldn’t get my garden in this year.

  11. Kim

    My, your hair is cute!!! I cut off 16″ my sophomore year of high school, but it came to just above my shoulders and was not nearly as cute. I wasn’t brave enough to go all the way to a Short Haircut, and wimped out at Pouffy Above The Shoulders In-Between Length.

    Kudos on the bravery; I know how hard it can be to make big changes, even when “it’s just hair; it’ll grow back”. But then, you’re all about making changes lately, and I’m inspired by your chutzpa!

  12. Dana

    Wow! That’s quite a change of hair style! From what I can see, the new style is adorable. Congratulations for donating your hair, that’s very honorable of you.

  13. marni

    this is such a great post! love how you weave a story in and out and around food….
    and your hair is adorable!!!

  14. jessiev

    yay you!! i’ve done it, twice. when your long hair is gone, you don’t quite know what to do with your newly lightened head. :) you look fantastic!

    and tomatoes – YUM<!! we wait all year for this reward.

  15. Megan Gordon

    Love. Love it all. Change culminates in moments…so true. And boy don’t tomatoes take patience! I’m growing some myself and keep staring them down hoping they’ll be ready soon (mine don’t look nearly as good as yours!) Happy weekend.

  16. 6512 and growing

    Time is such a mindwarp. Sometimes it races by, other times lopes along. I love how ripening tomatoes tell their own story of time passing, tick tick tick, perfectly. Thank you.

  17. Allegra

    love the new hair!! it looks really great. I recently just chopped mine off too after about 2 years of growing it out. It was really liberating.

  18. Lisa

    ah i love the hair! and those tomatoes are fantastic, i would love to make tomato bisque but with the heat right now in new york i just can’t fathom soup. As always, you’re writing is just beautiful

  19. postcollegecook

    Your hair looks positively beautiful (both long and short, but specifically short)!

  20. Niki

    I love your hair! It’s looks sooooo good on you. It’s a great cut on you, perfect for framing your face. I think if I knew you in person, I’d def do a double take too! And that’s awesome that you donated it too. With as gorgeous and healthy as your hair looks, it’ll make a great wig for someone who needs one!

  21. Shannalee

    Oh, you all left such nice comments, I’m getting more used to my hair just reading them! Loved hearing about those of you who’ve also done this and loved hearing about how your tomatoes are doing in different areas of the country. Thanks so much to all of you!

  22. kristen

    Your hair looks great! I’m sure you just have to get use to it.. and what a great cause you did it for!

  23. Rebecca

    I donated my hair a couple of months ago-for the first time in my adult life I have short hair! It’s definitely an adjustment, but it has turned out to be a great thing.

  24. heather @ chiknpastry

    love the new look! and next year, I am getting my garden on, and not playing the “its hard to grow stuff on my balcony” game.

  25. Lisa at CC&T

    Funny – I just noticed this morning that my backyard tomatoes starting turning red, too! Love the theme behind this post – embracing change can be some of the most challenging work we do.

  26. Shannalee

    Thanks for these comments too, guys! You’re all so kind.

    Rebecca – so nice to read your story about doing the same thing. It’s such a crazy experience to change your appearance that much that fast, but it’s been good for me, too.

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