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Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Fruits of History


As she said at the time, ‘You don’t get many of those to the pound.’ This is – I suppose - true enough, even in these days of metrication.

But, then, as Hemingway himself so rightly said ‘That’s the way it is with watermelons.’

Of course, – in the original edition - Shakespeare’s Macbeth so famously said ‘Is this a pomegranate I see before me?’ And – scandalously even for the Elizabethan period – the Bard had Richard III at Bosworth crying ‘My kingdom for a Cox’s.’ Although, recent scholarship has laid to rest the claim that he actually wanted a Golden Delicious, or even as some anti-Plantagenet propaganda had it – a Granny Smith.

Still we all know about Henry VIII and his plums, so any over-familiarity of royalty with fruit has become the stuff of myth and legend. The most obvious of course being Charles II and his attempt to squeeze Nell Gwyn’s oranges.

After all, would Julius Caesar have not crossed the Rubicon without the promise of a nice juicy Satsuma on the other side?

It is now well-understood the so-called Norman invasion of 1066 would have been little more than a day-trip across the channel. That is if it were not that Edward the Confessor had promised William the Bastard all the pears he could get his hands on.

As for the discovery of America, most historians now agree it would not have happened had Spain enough dates and figs of their own. Without Europeans wanting to find an alternative route to the Middle East, America would have lain undiscovered until at least the next afternoon. Thus those seeking quick access to some of the largest fruit and vegetable retailers in the then known world were responsible for finding a completely new continent and the eventual discovery of the pineapple.

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