Monday, July 10, 2006

Kill him again

I was attempting to enjoy a normal, New Yorker-free life when I came across:
Paris et al., "First Known Image of Cucurbita in Europe, 1503-1508," Annals of Botany 98 (2006) 401-7.

The authors compare a series of cucurbit paintings in the Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne. The bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) is labeled Cucurbita/Quegourdes; the painting they ID as Cucurbita pepo (i.e., "squash") is called Colloquintida/Quegourdes de turquie.* So bottle gourds were unequivocally called cucurbitas in 16th-century France (and distinguished from colocynth to which the new species were mistakenly assimilated). And as we know, zucca is the Italian form of cucurbita (via cocuzza, if you must). It is likely that a similar practice prevailed in northern Italy.

[article | illumination*]


This Buford saga has been variously referred to as a rant, an evisceration, an excoriation, and so on. I've written plenty of those in my time on the internets, but I really was trying to be reasonable with all this. I don't know why. Further evidence, as if it were needed, of the irrevocable lost-ness of the cause was provided by a food blogger who conferred with the dessert chef and decided that Buford "was talking about restaurant dessert, which is a very different thing." Indeed. But it didn't appear until the 18th century not because there was no dessert, but because there were no restaurants.


The only good thing to come of this is the discovery that the BNF has been spending a lot of time putting pretty pictures on the internet. That, and the cuculoupe.

*I realize I sound like a crazy person, but this is why: if the authors of the paper had even a rudimentary knowledge of paleography, they would not have misread the Latin name as "Colloquitida [sic]". Are there no standards anymore?***

**If the static link doesn't work, go to the search page, type in Latin 9474, then make your way to image 295. The Lagenaria is image 142.

***Yes, I started with an Eric B. & Rakim reference and ended with Pantera. So what?


Anonymous kk said...

Talking about restaurant dessert, indeed. Before which there was only fruit? Seriously, don't any of these new yorkers know any jews?

Love the illumination.

Fri Jul 14, 06:08:00 PM GMT  

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