[Northkeep] period fruit

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 31 09:25:08 PDT 2001

Cat wrote:

>What about the other tree fruits, ie peaches and
>apricots?  I seem to remember *something* about
>apricots in the middle eastern regions.

Apricots are another Asian/Asia Minor import, and again, were known in
Europe before our time period.

>I think that melons are from there and pre-date
>period, but I don't know which varieties.

Melons are indeed period.  The canatloupe was developed in late period, if I
remember correctly, at a papal estate in Italy near a town called Cantalope.

Watermelon originated in Africa - where I don't know.  In "The Four Seasons
of the House of Cerruti," a 14th-15th century Italian book about
housekeeping with lots of good stuff in it, there are illustrations of
melons that look very much like our familiar "Dixie Queen" watermelons:
striped with dark and light green.  But it only looks like our Dixie Queen.
We haven't a clue what they tasted like, or what size they were.

Melons like cassaba and . . . oh, fooey, I can't remember the name, but it's
something like Israel melon, or Zion melon, or PLO melon. . .something
relating to the Holy Land.  You'll recognize it when you see it.

As for vitamin C:  other foods besides fruit carry the stuff.  Onions, for
instance.  Cabbage.  Before the British navy started crating limes around in
the 18th century (hence the nickname "limies"), apples, wrapped in straw and
packed in barrels, were taken on voyages.

I had fogotten to mention pineapple:  yes, it was brought back fairly early
from its home in Brazil during the age of exploration.  I would have to look
up the first mention of it.  You may, in the course of reading pre-1600
texts, run across the word pineapple, or the term "pomme de pin."  This does
not mean the fruit.  It means "pine cone" or "apple of the pine."  The name
was transferred to the pine-cone like fruit from the New World.  The
Europeans weren't too hot on coming up with new names, and sometimes a bit
slow to accept whatever the natives called a thing.  For instance, in
French, a potato is a "pomme de terre" - literally, "earth apple."  French
fries are called "pommes frites" or "fried apples" which is totally
misleading, when you think about it.  And a tomato, in Italian, is a "pomo
d'oro" or "pomodoro" which means "golden apple" - the first tomatoes brought
back being yellow, not red.

Maybe Dairmaid could check the OED to find out when the term "pineapple"
entered the English lexicon as a referent to the Brazilian fruit?

In servicio,


Of course, if the defining bits of a boy calf are called "calf fries" and
from a boy sheep are "lamb fries", it's little wonder the French didn't go
for the term "French fries."

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