Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Perhaps we should call all edible living things by their scientific names. The name 'grains of paradise' make you excited about using them, but saying Aframomum granum paradisi tastes almost as good as the spice itself - Latin, like other romance languages, feels very nice in the mouth. This might also aid understanding in our increasingly international blogosphere - I noticed that some of Mahanandi's recipes have two or three names for ingredients. When I was in India recently and would ask what to call an unfamiliar fruit, seasoning, or scent, the most common reaction was "In what language?"

Fragaria is the name of an imaginary country where I would like to live someday. It also means strawberries. For much of the world the strawberry season is well under way but this far north the wild ones are just starting. These are small and sweet with ten times as much flavour as their cultivated relatives, and cost only the effort to hunt for them. They like to grow in ditches, in pastures, alongside dirt roads, and in lightly wooded areas. They are best eaten right there because you can spend a very long time picking and still end up with barely a pint, though my mom manages to get enough for jam every year. (In Edmonton there are also lots of saskatoon bushes along the river valley which have mostly lost their flowers by now, but the berries will be another four to six weeks. )