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Figs: A Global History
by David C. Sutton
Reaktion Books, 2014
Cloth: 978-1-78023-349-9 | eISBN: 978-1-78023-392-5

Lusciously sweet and with a complex texture, figs are both a nutritious culinary delicacy and an important symbol in religion and culture. Associated with Christmas since the time of Charles Dickens—not to mention Dionysus or the Garden of Eden—the fig is steeped in history. In this account of the festive fruit, David C. Sutton places the fig in its historical context, examining its peculiar origins and the importance it has garnered in so many countries.
Sutton begins by describing the fig’s strange biology—botanically, it is not a fruit, but rather a cluster of ingrowing flowers—then considers its Arabian origins, including the possibility that the earliest seeds were transported from Yemen to Mesopotamia in the dung of donkeys. Exploring the history of the fruit in fascinating detail, Sutton postulates that the “forbidden fruit” eaten by Adam and Eve was not an apple, but a fig; and he discusses the role figs played for the Crusaders and guides readers toward the wonderful fig festivals held today. Chock full of tasty recipes, intriguing facts, and bizarre stories, Figs is a toothsome book of delights. 

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