This Day in Goofery
1893: The Supreme Court ruled in Nix v. Hedden that under the Tariff Act of 1883, a tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit–even though they knew that botanically the tomato is a fruit.
Before that, there was a lot of “It’s a fruit!” “It’s a vegetable!” “It’s a fruit!” “It’s a vegetable!” back-and-forth going on, and everyone was just plain sick of it. There arose a chorus of “Let’s just settle this once and for all!”
You can call it a fruit, you can call it a vegetable, but I just calls it “Bob.”
How can such a thing happen, for “the highest court in the land” to rule contrary to established fact?
You see, under the Tariff Act, tax had to be paid on vegetables but not fruit (and how is that fair?), and Messrs. Nix, Nix, Nix and Nix (John, John W., George W. and Frank W.) took the Collector of the Port of New York, Edward L. Hedden, “all the way” to the Supreme Court (no one simply takes things to the Supreme Court) to recover back duties they had paid under protest.
Source: NatureSweet® Tomatoes They’re heavenly!
During the course of this case, the defendant’s counsel read into the record the Webster’s dictionary definitions of pea, eggplant, cucumber, squash and pepper. In turn the plaintiff’s counsel read those of potato, turnip, parsnip, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot and bean. Shortly after the case was closed, the judges adjourned for lunch, where tomatoes were served as a vegetable.