'Simpsons'-Inspired Tomacco Grows in Oregon
(Friday, November 07 03:00 PM)
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - To the best of our knowledge, no confectioner has yet tried to market Nuts and Gum, as seen in a 1994 episode of "The Simpsons."
Someone has, however, successfully crossed a tomato plant and a tobacco plant. It's true: Tomacco isn't just for Homer anymore.
Rob Baur, an operations analyst for a wastewater-treatment plant who lives in Lake Oswego, Ore., says he grafted a tomato plant onto tobacco roots to produce the tomacco plant. In the 1999 episode of "The Simpsons" on which his experiment was based, Homer, fleeing a duel with a Southern gentleman, creates the foul-tasting but addictive plant by irradiating a field with plutonium.
Baur says he got his tomacco plant to bear fruit, but he thinks it probably contained a lethal amount of nicotine, so he didn't taste it.
"I've got this one plant growing, and it's blooming again," he tells Wired News. "I accidentally left the tomacco on the kitchen table, and my wife yelled at me, 'Get that thing out of the kitchen, you knucklehead!' ... It looks like a regular tomato."
Tomato and tobacco plants are genetically related, which allows them to be cross-bred. Baur took the plant to a lab to see if it was, in fact, a hybrid, and tests showed its leaves contained nicotine. The fruit wasn't tested.
Baur's experiment didn't go over too big with his family, but he's confident he'll be vindicated.
"We'll see who's saying 'D'oh!' when I'm on the cover of TV Guide and Scientific American the same week," he says.