Date: Fri, 22 Mar 1996 18:08:15 -0500 From: "Dale F.Coye" Subject: Re: Asia and tomatoes The question was raised about the boundaries of Asia and whether Israel is part of it. Isn't this like asking whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable? According to the books maybe Israel is part of Asia, but the whole continental division notion becomes ludicrous when we talk about the Urals as a boundary. You may as well call the Rockies the border between two continents. Maybe there aren't even seven continents. Or maybe there are geologically but not culturally. As with the tomato there is the technical answer and the common sense answer. Tomatoes may be the fruit of the tomato plant, but we eat them in our meals in salads and in other "vegetable" ways. Since we don't eat them in sweet pies or for dessert or for snacks like other fruits, they aren't "fruits" in the common meaning of the word any more than peppers or pinecones are. This really gets to me because I've seen articles bewailing the fact that only 10 percent of our high school seniors answered a test question correctly on whether the tomato was a fruit of vegetable. So if the Israelis want to call themselves Middle easterners, as far as I'm concerned that's what they are. Dale Coye The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching