"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
Tomato: fruit or vegetable? In 1893, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Nix v. Hedden that the tomato is legally a vegetable and not a fruit
, botanical definitions be damned. In 2001, the European Union disagreed
, saying that "tomatoes, the edible parts of rhubarb stalks, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water-melons are considered to be fruit". [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee
on Nov 17, 2011 -
– everything you need to know about the delicious fruits and vegetables you enjoy. Answers about how to lower your cholesterol or how to prepare asparagus. You’ll find loads of background and variety information, nutrition specifics, serving sizes, preparation ideas and care and handling tips.
posted by netbros
on Jun 2, 2008 -
I’ve discovered that typically, a farmer who grows the forbidden fruits and vegetables on corn acreage not only has to give up his subsidy for the year on that acreage, he is also penalized the market value of the illicit crop, and runs the risk that those acres will be permanently ineligible for any subsidies in the future. (The penalties apply only to fruits and vegetables — if the farmer decides to grow another commodity crop, or even nothing at all, there’s no problem.)
If you can't stop demand, curtail production. One farmer's view on the power of commodity crops. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Mar 1, 2008 -
Surreal photographic Foodscapes by photographer Carl Warner.
Strawberry hot air balloons, towers of cheese, potato boulders, green pea boats on seas of salmon, spice roads, and sugar beaches populate these intricate and luscious scenes. More dishy foodscapes (the plate rainbow = ♥!)
and other wonderful visual tricks at his Flash site
in the "Fotographics" section (look for the fabulous forest of boots and the white cotton winter wonderland!). [more inside]
posted by taz
on Feb 2, 2008 -
is a plant trained to grow flat against a wall, fence, or trellis. Developed by the Romans, they were popular in Middle Age Europe as a source of fruit
in castles and monasteries because they could be grown against the keep's stone walls leaving open space unencumbered. Now they are an excellent choice for apartment and condo dwellers with small yards
. For larger yards espaliers
can be used as a decorative feature
, to provide shade
or to increase the variety
of trees under cultivation. University of Florida PDF
detailing the technique.
posted by Mitheral
on Sep 17, 2007 -
is a photographic collection by artist Uli Westphal
of non-standard fruits and vegetables found at Berlin groceries and farmers' markets. The distorted, the discolored, the bumpy, the stumpy, the coiled and the conjoined all get star treatment. (Flash site)
posted by hydrophonic
on Jul 27, 2007 -
The little bug
eats the bigger bug
, and "[i]t's bad news for beekeepers, farmers and anybody who likes to eat."
An invading parasite imperils the American honeybee -- and your fruit basket. In only six months "40 percent to 60 percent of the bees nationwide have perished".
And "that, in turn, hampers production of about one third of the human diet, including almonds, apples, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, sunflowers, melons and cranberries."
posted by orthogonality
on Mar 31, 2005 -
1: dear fruit master,
you never got my first letter! i'll tell you what it said- i hate the stupid, idiotic game of fruit
! the new one and the old one! they both stink! if i lose again i'm going to smash in the computer screen! i will win i will not lose again! or in three words- I WILL BE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Signed, LAURENE
2: Dear Fruit Master,
I lost your game after I tried about 200 times!!!! This game is really hard, and I thought you improved it. My child is highly upset and we will never go on the internet again!!!!!
signed,a very angry parent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:(:(:(:(:(:(:(
posted by iconomy
on Jul 19, 2003 -
The tiny Picture Book Of Foods
is an invaluable resource for true foodies everywhere.
Learn where many of your favorite foods really come from. There are also growing secrets, educational cross-sections, and recipe tips. And pancakes.
posted by iconomy
on Jun 25, 2003 -
I heard it through the grapevine
that Will Vinton has been "let go" from Will Vinton Studios.
Best known for the California Grapes commercials, the creator of Claymation™ has been rather unceremoniously kicked out of the animation studio he started.
Isn't this like kicking out Walt Disney or Jim Henson (when they were both alive, obviously)?
What's the value of a studio without the talent it was named after?
posted by jpburns
on Apr 22, 2003 -
Chanthaburi Fruit Fair
"These vibrantly colorful parade floats are perishable wonders of the world, awesome scenes and statues and designs all decorated almost entirely with thousands of tropical fruits and many vegetables too." Slideshow here
. The photographer, Shunyam Nirav, also operates the excellent Durian Palace
website with additional Chanthaburi info
and great Durian galleries
, even Durian poetry
. Thailand is also known for their exquisite fruit carving
posted by snez
on Mar 2, 2003 -
The only fruit to ever appear on a Velvet Underground album cover (not to mention the title of a J. D. Salinger short story) may be on its way to extinction. Facts: I) total disappearance could occur within a decade; II) bananas are the staple diet for half a billion people and III) current genetic tampering mean that, even if the fruit doesn't quite disappear, it will taste and look
different (Guardian article here
). Feeling nostalgic already? Visit the stylish Banana Museum
or give someone you love the Enchanted Banana of Happiness
(not what you're thinking). first link via Fark
posted by 111
on Jan 15, 2003 -
A Fruit Has Been Built. A unique architectural piece
that pokes your senses in creative ways, is also good-humouredly called the "Durians
" by local Singaporeans. Durians, or otherwise titled King of fruits, are beloved by millions of South East Asians. The spiky building, officially known as "Esplanade-theatres on the bay
", started construction in 1996 and will open
(flash) to the world on the 12th October 2002.
posted by taratan
on Oct 6, 2002 -
"We think of an orange as a constant, but in reality it's not."
Canadian study finds that fruits and vegetables have lost much of their nutritional value in the last decades--potatoes, for example, have lost 100% of their Vitamin A. The reason, it appears, is mass production and a market that values appearance over substance. Is this symptomatic of deeper problems within a system where produce travels so far before reaching the consumer? Here in B.C., for example, the stores are full of California produce, despite the fact that we grow much the same fruits and vegetables locally.
posted by jokeefe
on Jul 6, 2002 -
While Americans celebrate history by eating (I have two cookouts to attend tonight), take a look at history you can eat
. The Garden State Heirloom Seed Society is trying to make sure we don't lose the thousands of varieties of vegetables and fruit developed over the years.
posted by ewagoner
on Jul 4, 2001 -