For our new English/History class, we are taking a course called Food for Thought. The first unit is on life. We looked at why and how agrarian societies began, the environmental and social impacts of agriculture, and how domestication changed the lives of the hunter-gatherers. For the first unit we were assigned an interview with a family member about a recipe and family foods, a family food tree and an autobiography of a food.
I interviewed my mother and we talked about her grandmother’s apricot horn cookies that she used to make and give to her family and neighbors for Christmas presents. They are something that we still make today as a family and all the kids can help make because of what an easy recipe it is.
My family food tree has the parents of both of my parents, my parents and my siblings and I traced out along with all of our favorite foods. This was really fun to make, but also kind of hard because no one wanted to pick just one favorite food!
For my food autobiography, I wrote about the journey of an apricot to my cookies and the path apricots took from where they were originally grown to where they are today. It was really interesting to see how and why they spread and some of the changes that occurred because of climate.
THE SAGA OF THE APRICOT:
Growing up as a young apricot on my apricot tree in the South of California, my tree would tell me stories about all the different things past apricots before me had to face. We apricots have a very rich cultural history and have been spread all across the world because of how delicious we are.
We were grown originally all the way over in China probably about 4000 years ago. Apparently, we were lucky and used to help with fertility in women. Then my apricot ancestors were taken over to the Middle East by Chinese silk traders. After that, Alexander the Great decided apricots were great too and introduced us to Southern Europe. When the Romans started to grow us, they called us “the golden eggs of the sun,” which I think is very accurate because we are golden and delicious.
Eventually, England wanted us to be grown there too and a special kind of apricot was created called Moor Park, but in case anyone was wondering, we taste better over here in California. We ended up here in California because Spain brought us over to Mexico and then spread upwards into my home. But, the really big problem is that the top twelve apricot producers in the world don’t include my trees out in California. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to be wrapped up in an apricot horn cookie right now and have everyone want apricots from my trees, but I do want to feel a little more popular.
The thing is I have been picked. I was shipped out to a grocery store. The other apricots at the grocery store kind of scare me. Most of them aren’t from my tree and I am not sure how I feel about meeting new apricots because I spent so long with the same apricots, but all of that is done because today I was purchased. A short woman going on about how special it is that her grandmother used to make these cookies with me inside of them bought me. I would like to tell her that she has been saying the cookies are normally made at Christmas and that she should keep it that way. Christmas in July is overrated. Have some fruit salad with strawberries or something, just no apricots. Too bad I can’t speak to humans. The car ride home was bumpier than the ride to the grocery store and I was dropped on the counter. I sat there scared, shaking in my apricot skin and then the next thing I know I am being chopped up and cooked and boiled and it was horrible. I was then dropped up on to a triangle and rolled up into a cookie and put in a box. That’s where I am. Sitting. Waiting. Dying. About to be eaten.