Fried Green Tomatoes
at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Probably my favourite book (and film) of all time ~ and also a rare moment when the film adaptation is almost as good as the book, although the film stops short of overtly advertising Ruth and Idgie’s lesbian relationship, portraying it in a more ambiguous manner ~ “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” is the intriguing tale of two girls who live in the deep South of the USA and their ensuing relationship with each other……the book and film covers many issues, but the main themes that run though both the book and film is friendship, ageing, loss, love, female strength and lesbianism.
The cast in the film are memorable and portray the characters in the book in a sympathetic and realistic way……especially Kathy Bates who plays Evelyn Couch, a timid and unhappy middle-aged housewife who is told the tale of “Ruth and Idgie”, two of the main protagonists in the story, by Jessica Tandy who plays Ninny Threadgoode in the film; a tale that she becomes fascinated with and also a tale that eventually empowers her.
Without giving the whole plot away to those of you who have not read the book, or seen the film, it really is a heart-warming tale of hope above adversity and of deep female friendship and strength……the theme of food runs through the book and film, with much attention given to Ruth’s ability to master fried green tomatoes to serve in the Whistle Stop Cafe, as well as some interesting barbecued fare later on in the tale……my lips are sealed on that point, you must read the book or watch the film!
I have always been fascinated with the notion of fried green tomatoes, and when a neighbour recently gave me several kilos of them, I not only turned to my tried and true chutney recipe, but I also did a little investigative research to find an authentic recipe, a recipe worthy for the Whistle Stop Cafe and Ruth and Idgie. Fried green tomatoes is a classic Southern recipe in the States and I finally found a recipe that seemed to fit the bill and also resembled how they prepared them in the book and film; the recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes came from a Southern food website here.
I liked the fact that they were coated in cornmeal for a nice crisp crunch. I also liked the suggestion that they be cooked in bacon fat ~ and indeed they were delectable fried this way. I served our fried green tomatoes for lunch yesterday with a couple of rashers of back bacon and some thick slices of bread, and it really was a fabulous meal……if you are vegetarian, fry them in olive oil or vegetable oil and serve with eggs or just with some extra slices of bread. Toast Ruth and Idgie with a can of coffee whilst you enjoy these tomatoes, just as they would have served it in their cafe, and try to keep a few tomatoes back for chutney making, as I did!
Just a little note, there is a Whistle Stop Cafe blog, I discovered it after making my fried green tomatoes, they also have a recipe there for fried green tomatoes.
Classic Fried Green Tomatoes
- 4 to 6 green tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- bacon grease or vegetable oil
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 – 1/2-inch slices. Salt and pepper them to taste. Dip in meal and fry in hot grease or oil about 3 minutes or until golden on bottom. Gently turn and fry the other side. Serve as a side dish – delicious with breakfast!
Your pictures as usual are gorgeous Karen. I have never gotten the taste factor in Fried Green Tomatoes. They look wonderful, but I have never liked the taste. I can't explain it! xxoo
Dom at Belleau Kitchen says
We must be kindred spirits Karen because I too live that film. It has a special place in my heart. Didn't know the book so I'll download it and read. I've always wanted to make FGT's so I'm glad you did!!! Lovely x
That is such a fabulous film and one of my favourites too. Shamefully, I haven't read the book, so that needs to be remedied. But I was so intrigued by the fried green tomatoes I made some as soon as I could after seeing the film for the first time – which was, errr, some years ago now.
Ren Behan Fabulicious Food says
Ooh a new one for me, I haven't read the book or seen the film, how can that be?!
I'd forgotten all about the film Karen. Do you know I have never ever seen green tomatoes anywhere for sell let alone tried them 🙁
Thrifty Household says
Great minds think alike Karen! I love fried green tomatoes- both the story & food. I've not had a good tomato crop this year so I haven't been able to indulge as much as I'd hoped…(this is my main reason to grow my own tomatoes- well fried green tomatoes & green tomato chutney)
Karen S Booth says
Marie ~ thanks! I know what you mean about the taste, I think the bacon fat helps to add flavour as well as a good dousing of salt and pepper too.
Dom ~ how nice to think we are kindred spirits ~ I often think then on my rounds around the internet, so many people who love the same things that I love….the book is great, much more "open" about Ruth and Idgie's relationship.
Choclette ~ I know about years ago! It is many years ago that I first read the book and then latterly, saw the film….glad to see the film is your favourite too.
Ren ~ I am sure you would really enjoy the film and the book too…..and the fried green tomatoes!!
Thanks Jac ~ shame that we don't live nearer, as I still have a few lbs of green toms left to deal with! This time of the year is the time to look in smaller greengrocers, as tomatoes are not ripening now.
Thrifty Household ~ yes, another fried green tomato and chutney lover! I have made one large batch of chutney already, a curried version which is lovely.
Working london mummy says
I love these. Have made them too. such a lovely way to cook them x
wow…so totally impressive recipe Karen…awesome cliks…:)
This is also one of my favorite movies, but I have never read the book! I tried fried green tomatoes earlier this year in Florida and loved them! Thanks for this timely recipe, I have a lot of green tomatoes!
Heavenly Housewife says
Fried green tomatoes is one of the most awesome films ever. I'd love to try the dish, but without growing tomatoes myself, I don't know where I'd find the green ones.
Oh how I love that book, and the film. Would you believe I just turned down a bag of green tomatoes, silly me! But I had already accepted huge bunches of carrots and parsnips and I have 3 bags of quinces and a bag of apples to use, picked up at a Quince and Apple Day, and you can only get through so much fruit and veg!
A Vintage Chic says
Wonderful, Karen! Enjoyed your book review–have never read it!
I've always been intrigued with the idea of fried green tomatoes, but haven't tried them yet…maybe we'll just have to do that!
Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, my friend!
I've never tried these either but they look truly yummy. And it is one of my favorite movies…and I don't think I'm giving anything away to those who haven't read or seen it, but all I have to say is…The secret's in the sauce!
A Trifle Rushed says
What a wonderful recipe, they really look scrumptious. The DVD is gathering dust in Brittany, so I'll watch it next time I'm there! And maybe try cooking these next summer:-)
Oh my gosh!!!! This is one of my all time favourite movies. It really is a 'stick two fingers up at anyone who says your wrong' kind of movie. I LOVE IT! I've never thought of making fried green tomatoes for myself though … although I wonder if you'll try the BBQ ribs lol
It was a good movie, the acting was outstanding. I have always fancied making fried green tomatoes, thanks for showing us what they are like and I'm glad they turned out as delicious as in the Whistlestop cafe.
Kentish Keg-Meg says
This is great as I have so many green tomatoes . Thank you for this recipe.
From Beyond My Kitchen Window says
Great book and good movie. I have only had fried green tomatoes once and they were very good. I will have to try them with corn meal next summer.