Culinary Anthropologist

fruit

  1. Getting fruity

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    A good Turkish meal ends with fresh fruit, often artfully presented in slices and wedges on the plate.  You might get kiwis, strawberries, oranges, apples or any number of stone fruit when in season.  But apart from this occasional appearance, fresh fruit is surprisingly hard to find.  I could suppose that this is due to […]

  2. From tree to treacle

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    Today Barnaby got rather over-excited when he came across a carob tree growing among the castle ruins in the little village of Kaleköy on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Ever since Barnaby first tasted the deeply fruity and complex treacle-y molasses called pekmez (at Zeliş Farmhouse), he has been a bit obsessed by it.  (He gets like […]

  3. Getting into the mountain spirit

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    Today Barnaby was so intoxicated by Gaby Demoulin’s alambic au feu de bois (wood-fired still) and vast array of eaux de vie and liqueurs (including raspberry, gentian, quince, bay and laurel), that he nearly stayed at Ferme La Fonderie.  The fruits go through a double distillation process, and finally end up in beautiful bottles on […]

  4. Lemons

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    The lemon seems to be such a common, and essential, fruit, that you’d imagine it had been around since the beginning of time.  Not so.  The original three citrus plants, from which all others have been bred, are the citron, the mandarin and the pummelo.  The lemon is probably a multi-step hybrid, involving the citron, […]

  5. Melons

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    ‘Melon’ comes from the ancient Greek word for apple and other seed-containing fruits.  The Greeks called a melon a ‘melopepon’ (‘apple-gourd’), which became shortened to ‘melon’ or similar in many languages.  In Tuscany, where prosciutto with melon is a classic dish, the fruit still goes by its ancient name, ‘popone’.  A similar word is used […]

  6. Rhubarb

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    Rhubarb originates from Mongolia.  The word was coined in medieval Latin and derives from ‘Rha’ (old name for the Volga river) and ‘barbarum’ (foreign) – ie a vegetable from the foreign lands east of the Volga. Rhubarb was pronounced a ‘fruit’ in 1947 by confused US customs officials who opted to classify by its use […]

  7. Granny Smith apples

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    Who was Granny Smith?  The apple is named after Maria Ann Smith, who first propagated the variety in Australia in 1868, apparently by chance.  It is thought to be a cross between a wild species and a domesticated one.  Maria and her husband had been recruited to come to New South Wales from England 30 […]

  8. Figs

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    Figs were one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans.  Recent evidence found suggests they were cultivated in the Jordan Valley as early as 9400-9200 BC, ie before the first cereals were domesticated.   The fig is actually a fig/flower – the tiny flowers are clustered inside.