By David C. Sutton
Sutton starts by means of describing the fig’s unusual biologybotanically, it's not a fruit, yet relatively a cluster of ingrowing flowersthen considers its Arabian origins, together with the chance that the earliest seeds have been transported from Yemen to Mesopotamia within the dung of donkeys. Exploring the heritage of the fruit in attention-grabbing element, Sutton postulates that the forbidden fruit” eaten by means of Adam and Eve was once now not an apple, yet a fig; and he discusses the function figs performed for the Crusaders and courses readers towards the glorious fig gala's held this day. Chock packed with tasty recipes, fascinating proof, and weird tales, Figs is a toothsome booklet of delights.
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Extra resources for Figs: A Global History
Ripe brebas. Plato was said to have preferred spring brebas to late-summer figs. Many Catalonians would agree with him. Black or purple figs are known to be ‘dominant’ over white or green figs. This is demonstrated by the fact that when a black strain is cross-bred with a white strain, the resulting hybrid is always black. While most Spanish varieties of fig do indeed have two crops, this is not universal. There are single-crop fig varieties which fruit early – like the Menorcan figaflor – and there are, more usually, single-crop fig varieties which fruit late, in the northern hemisphere in September or October.
He believed that figs were especially good for children, and quotes Herodotus once again, making the intriguing suggestion that children fed on fig juice would grow to a great size. He also believed that figs were the most digestible of all fruit, which was proved by the fact that Greeks would eat far more figs than all other fruit put together. ’ Athenaeus was aware of the distinction between brebas and figs, and he cites Aristophanes, Theophrastus and other Greek authors to illustrate the fact that some types of fig trees, some years, will bear two crops.
Again we find figs numbered among the absolute necessities of Greek life, even in times of Spartan frugality. The Phallic Fig ‘Dr Aigremont’, a pseudonymous author who in 1908 published a scholarly treatise in German on popular traditions of love and sex (Volkserotik), paid particular attention to the fig. He identified the fig as a symbol of fertility and propagation in many oriental countries, but above all in ancient Greece. Figs were sacred to Dionysus and the huge phallus carried at Dionysian festivals would be carved from fig wood – in memory of the fig-wood phallus which Dionysus was said to have placed on the grave of Polyhymnus.