Food is Culture: Grandma Sansone’s Green Tomatoes

Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Your family tree has deep roots in Sicily, Italy.  Your childhood memories include working with your uncles at the Indianapolis Produce Terminal.  You fall in love with a man named Chris Mascari, who is also from a Sicilian family.  Who also grew up loading trucks at the Indianapolis Produce Terminal.  Who now owns the best produce distribution company in the United States.  And even as an owner… he still buys the tomatoes for Indianapolis Fruit Company.

As one of Chris’ employees, I think this stubborn affinity to tomatoes is simply due to his passion and knowledge.  He does it right.  My boss knows tomatoes!  Why would anyone else buy this product for Indianapolis Fruit to sell to our customers?  All produce, but especially tomatoes, are part of Chris Mascari’s culture.

Now how does the wife of Chris Mascari prepare tomatoes for dinner?  How could she possibly cook something that would impress this tomato god?  Or meet his particular standards?  That’s easy.  Augie makes them the way her mama did.  That’s the cool thing about food.  To some people, this recipe is just Sauteed Green Tomatoes.  But to Augie, Chris & their daughter, Chelsea…. this is Grandma Sansone’s Green Tomatoes.  And to me, that represents greater culture than anything you will find on or a family tree.

I don’t have a swanky Italian heritage to pass down to my boys.  I’m an American mutt.  Furthermore, Chip & I share minimal parallels when it comes to the definable cultures: ancestry, religion, language (yo hablo español) & more.  But just like this recipe from Grandma Sansone… Mac & Joe will learn recipes that I learned from my mom or grandma.  That is culture.  And it’s a very powerful culture.  Now I’m guessing your family is like mine & you have specific foods that you serve for birthdays, holidays or anniversaries.  Or maybe you have that 1 special dish which will always be remembered as the last meal you cooked with your mom.  Or the first meal you cooked with your daughter.  That is culture, my friends.  And arguably, it is the most meaningful culture.  Food… so many reasons to love it!

First, aren’t Chris & Augie ADORABLE:

We always have a Boss’ Day Survey here at Indy Fruit & in 2009 this duo was voted “most likely to be seen making out in the back seat of a cab” by all the employees.  What an honor!  Seriously.  I totally want Chip & I to be that blissfully married couple – or at least that’s how I want people to perceive us. 😉

And here is a picture of Chelsea, their daughter, and I at the Britney Spears concert.  Chelsea & I are BFFs here at Indy Fruit and we only enjoy the finest of live music (obviously).  And, yes, I’m wearing the Britney Spears Fan Club Tshirt.

Now – on to the recipe.  Most people think you can only fry green tomatoes.  If you haven’t learned this yet, just keep following my blog & you will soon share my sentiment…. most people are wrong.  About everything.  Preparing green tomatoes is no exception.  Let me show you how to saute them.

No ratings yet

Grandma Sansone's Green Tomatoes


  • 3 green tomato
  • 1 onion
  • 1-2 pkg Truvia obviously Nona used sugar, but Augie is way too fashionable for that!
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Remove stems from tomatoes.
  • Dice tomatoes and onions.
  • Heat oil in skillet, add tomatoes, onions & Truvia.
  • Stir occasionally, cook mixture on medium-low heat for about an hour. Add garlic, salt & pepper to taste during last few minutes of cooking.
  • Enjoy — Thank you Grandma Sansone!

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Kid-Friendly, Vegetarian
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Green Tomatoes

xoxo Produce Mom

About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I was looking for an alternative to the breaded and fried Green tomato recipes that are everywhere- and so was so happy to see this recipe. I just made it, with the following modifications:
    – 1 tsp sugar instead of Truvia (why substitute the real sugar?).
    – Just before finishing I added a dash of hot chili powder along with the garlic etc.
    – I only cooked the tomatoes and onions about 45 minutes in total, and I added 1/4 cup water and covered with a lid to prevent the veggies from drying out too much.
    Very Nice!

    1. Thank you for sharing! We love hearing of modifications to make it your own! Recipe are meant to inspire people!