Sutton, David C

Figs, fresh and dried, have become the fruit of celebrations and festivities throughout the western world, and have been the typical fruit of Christmas since at least the time of Charles Dickens. In Figs: A Global History, David C. Sutton examines the festive and celebratory importance of figs in many countries, by placing this luscious and festive fruit in its historical context. Beginning with an account of the strange biology of the fig – which is botanically not a fruit at all, but rather a cluster of ingrowing flowers – Sutton moves on to consider the Arabian origins of figs, including the possibility that the earliest fig-seeds were transported from Yemen to Mesopotamia in the dung of donkeys.  Beginning with proposing that the “forbidden fruit” eaten by Adam and Eve was in fact a fig rather than an apple, this book explores the history of the fruit in fascinating detail, from the Crusaders to the wonderful fig-festivals of the modern world. Including numerous recipes, interesting facts and stories of the fruit, such as the bizarre tale of the American fig-wasp, Figs is a fascinating account of this unique and delicious food.

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Reaktion Books, December 2014.  128 pages, hardcover, dustwrapper, colour and black and white photographs