It Figgers

New Statesman (1996), October 9, 2000 | Go to article overview

It Figgers


BEE WILSON on a fruit that reaches the highs, and lows, of oysters

FOOD

Figs are like oysters. They come into their own in autumn. During the first months ending in "r", you know that oysters and figs are good to eat. The Romans referred to the moment when summer truly ends as prima ficus, meaning first fig. As I write, we are in mature fig season, when the sweetest purple fruits are in the markets, ready to be draped with prosciutto or baked with honey, or eaten just as they are in a single, greedy gulp.

As I say, figs are like oysters. Sometimes they are seen as food of the rich, sometimes as food of the poor. In the days when they were slurped with Guinness, oysters were working men's grub. Now they are ostentatious little status symbols, pearls for the gullet. And so with figs. In their fresh form, when the finest species and specimens are on offer, figs are a luxury fruit, each one transported in its own cushioned container. The Greeks saw them as "more precious than gold". Ancient nobles gorged on Smyrna figs, and used them-ultimate decadence-to fatten the liver of geese for the table. Yet Pliny called dried figs the food of slaves. Often, the dried fig has been so ubiquitous among Mediterranean and Arab peoples that it almost replaced bread as a staple food. Figs are schizophrenic fruits, both common and rare. When dried, they can appear wizened and ordinary. When fresh, they can appear ripe like no other fruit, bulging sacs of tiny pips.

Again, figs are like oysters. Why? Because both foods are somehow ineffably obscene, One can see why so many people have insisted over the years that both are aphrodisiac foods, even if, as Alan Davidson has recently argued, there is no such thing as a true aphrodisiac. Figs bring out the coyness in wordy gastronomes, provoking the knowing epithets "voluptuous" and "sensuous" to trip across the tongue. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

It Figgers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.