The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly

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Apples aren’t at all difficult, but are plums? Cherries? Is rhubarb even a fruit? Kate Lebo guides you through an alphabetic labyrinth of difficulty, from Aronia to Zucchini, introducing, exposing, and dissecting fruits both familiar and strange. She explains the provenance, growing habits, flavors, and uses of each, even including recipes, all quite interesting for the horticulturally-minded. However, each fruit is merely a (sometimes quite tangential) touchpoint for Lebo’s musings. Fruit may be difficult because it is impossible to domesticate (Huckleberries) or impossible to eat (Osage Orange, Durian), or because it leads to very difficult questions, both personal (Elderberry) and societal (Juniper) – although it seems all those types of difficulties become intertwined after all. Lebo’s writing is calm and deep, extremely thoughtful and extremely intimate. It often made me uncomfortable, such raw exposure. It was not an easy or quick book to read, although it is quite beautiful; chapters take time to process and preserve, storing them away like Lebo’s jams and marmalades for future reflection. Some produce tears, both wet and ripping. It is, fittingly, a difficult book. But an excellent one nonetheless – like the fruits discussed, well worth the effort to come to know.

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Author Kate Lebo
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 416 pages
Publisher Picador Paper
Publish Date 12-Apr-2022
ISBN 9781250829474 Buy this Book
Issue September 2022
Category Cooking, Food & Wine