Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fruit and Beauty

Detail of Eve holding an esrik from the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck. 1425-32.

I got an email tosday asking about how to make esrik-infused vodka. I have two answers to this question. The first is fairly straightforward:
Either leave the esrik whole, or shave off thin strips of zest with a vegetable peeler, and infuse the zest (or the whole fruit) in 16 ounces of vodka in a covered, non-reactive container for about twenty-four hours. This recipe appears in Yiddish here.
The second answer is:
Do not do this! I have now heard from two individuals, one of whom worked on an esrik farm, that we should under no circumstances eat our esrogim. Because there is so much pressure for the fruit to be as beautiful as possible, the esrogim are drenched with toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides to an even greater extent than typical in conventional agriculture.

Citrus Medica, the esrik, or ethrog, or (according to this publication) le citron des Juifs, is just as beautiful as all get-out. Look at these gorgeous pictures here. The tradition is to select the most beautiful esrik possible, along with beautiful branches of date palm, myrtle, and willow, and to shake a bouquet of the four plants in what may be the most videogenic of all Jewish rituals.

My own feeling is that a fruit soaked in chemical toxins is way less beautiful than an organic esrik would be, and I don’t even mean I need to eat the esrik or make the vodka, but that such an esrik would be more beautiful for its own sake. Now I understand that I am a nut, but what do you think? Might normal folks drum up some demand?

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Blogger mzn said...

I love that video. Especially the man eating the falafel.

11:20 PM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

I love the video, but the tune does not bake my potatoes. Nothing like "I like to make pancakes."

9:35 PM  

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