KAMATIS (Tomato): I Guess We Didn’t Hear It Right


Can you imagine spaghetti without tomato sauce? 

How about pork or chicken afritada without the red-tinged sarsa?


Indigenous peoples enjoyed tomato salsa, seasoned with chili peppers, looong before the Spanish conquistadores found the land, people, and cuisine of Mesoamerica.  The fruit was called xtomatl in the Aztec language. 

The plant product was probably brought to our shores via the Acapulco-Manila galleon trade beginning in the 16th century.  Spaniards called it tomate /tomates.  To us, however, there is no distinction between singular and plural; we just call it kamatis

Horticulturalists over the centuries have developed many types of tomatoes to suit different purposes.  Readers are probably familiar with Roma tomatoes for making sauces, cherry tomatoes for tossing into salads, beefsteak tomatoes for slicing and layering with hamburgers, and so on.

Tomatoes grown at Puyallup, WA 2007


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