Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peaches for the Monkey King!

Good peaches are SO GOOD! They're so juicy, you have to eat them over the sink. Never mind your manners, just slurp away.

Peaches originated in China, near the Pakistani border. They've been cultivated in China since the 10th century BCE. Traders spread the fruit along the Silk Road to Russia and Persia. The Greeks and Romans found peaches in Persia and thought they originated there--in fact, the scientific name means "Persian plum" and the English word "peach" derived from the Latin "persica" for Persian.

The Spanish brought peaches to the USA, and American Indians spread them across the continent.

Although the South is famous for its peaches, they can be grown as far north as Michigan. The third best peaches I ever ate were Pennsylvania peaches. The second best are these local ones, and the best were the ones we got on our own late, lamented tree. It didn't bear often but when it did--OH, MY!

Peaches are a big part of Chinese culture, as you may imagine, since they've been around so long. The immortals stayed that way by eating the Peaches of Immortality from the garden of the Queen Mother of the West. The Monkey King (also known as The Stone Monkey) was put in charge of guarding them but, instead, he ate them--one of his many escapades. If those peaches were as good as the ones sitting in my kitchen right now calling my name, I don't blame him one bit.

Today is the Monkey God Festival. I think I'll raise a peach in his honor. :)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes


anthony stemke said...

Very interesting post on peaches. I planted a tree one year ago and had so many peaches on the slight tree that the branches almost touched the ground this summer.
I like the way you don't monkey around when you talk about peaches.

Marian Allen said...

Hee-hee! You don't dare monkey around with Monkey. He'll mount his Auspicious Luminosity and whoop ya! ;)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes