Monday, December 13, 2004

An Apple a Day

Even though I've only been in the kitchen to snag leftovers and make chocolates the past few days, my reading pile has kept me close to culinary delights as I plowed through In the Devil's Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food by Stewart Lee Allen. Organized by Deadly Sin, the book examines the history of many foods that were forbidden for one reason or another, and it does so in a light-hearted, witty, nudge-nudge-say-no-more sort of style.

How can you not enjoy a book in which the author begins one chapter with the highly irreverent statement: "If you deconstruct most religious ceremonies, you wind up with a man dressed suspiciously like a chef serving some kind of snack" (p. 185, "Blasphemy")?

One of the interesting tidbits I gleaned from the book was about apples, long thought to be the fruit that caused Eve's downfall in the Garden of Eden. Turns out that the forbidden fruit was never really named until the Roman Catholic Church (proponents of the grape and lovers of wine in the Communion service) attempted to curb the popularity of the Celtic Church and its threat to Roman hegemony by trashing the Celtic love of the apple and its use of hard cider instead of wine in their Communion services.

Makes me glad I had cider for Sunday brunch.


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