Books, Films and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe




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!


Classic Fried Green Tomatoes  


  • 4 to 6 green tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • cornmeal
  • 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!

(Serves 2)