Photos © Derek Richmond 2009
The fig, in season now, is one of the first fruits cultivated by humans and predates the story of the birth of Christ by about 9000 years.
I don’t remember when I first had my taste of fig but I do remember my father planting a fig tree in the garden, stubbornly in the middle of the lawn. We later learnt that a fig tree likes to grow with some constriction, perhaps against or wall or planted in amongst some rocky earth. Our tree still grows today, quite large and fruiting a little. We won’t move it. The tree stands awkwardly and stubbornly proud in memory of Martin.
My other memory of figs is a tree across the street from a friend in London. Much to her consternation I would carry a step ladder to the fence and scrump the plump, luscious fruit. Only the offerings that hung on the public side of the street would I take, is that so bad?
Dried figs; figgy pudding; figs soaked in wine, brandy or marsala; figs in bread and butter butter pudding; figs with cheese or fig salad, drizzled with honey on some bitter leaves with toasted pine nuts and mozzarella.
The English figure of speech, “I don’t give a fig”, relates by way of a Bengali proverb, perhaps to the fact that the flower of the fig is invisible (the flower is actually the fruit inside). One says it to mean, ‘I don’t care’ (I don’t see you).
But I do care, I care very much that you like figs and you must eat them with abandon in season.