Once fruit for poor people, today, delicacy for selected ones. Figs.
I can’t remember better job when you are a kid, than figs picking. Climbing up that delicious tree, picking that sweet fruit, selecting green ones which are not dry yet, and enjoying the sweetness. And I still do. Just close to my motherhouse, stands wide fig tree with one of the best figs I have ever eaten. Owners lived very far away, so, they wanted to sell that tree to someone. When I was 18 years old, my first income was spent on that tree. My first possession was that tree.
How important is that fruit, Veljko Barbieri, Croatian gastronome describes it the best. The Greeks were the first to introduce into kitchen the figs leaves, wrapping up the vegetables, meat and fish so they can remain fresh and preserved for a longer time. This culinary tradition has been passed on in their Dalmatian island colony, so it is no surprise, that famous Vis Hibs or figs cake, old pastries with ancient origin, are wrapped in a fig leaf.
Native to the Mediterranean region, the fig tree appears in some images of the Garden of Eden. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with leaves that are usually said to be from the fig tree, and Islamic tradition mentions two forbidden trees in Eden—a fig tree and an olive tree. In Greek and Roman mythology, figs are sometimes associated with Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans), god of wine and drunkenness, and with Priapus, a satyr who symbolized sexual desire.
The fig tree has a sacred meaning for Buddhists. According to Buddhist legend, the founder of the religion, Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, achieved enlightenment one day in 528 B. C. while sitting under a bo tree, a kind of fig tree. The bo or bodhi tree remains a symbol of enlightenment.
In legends, as fruit or in delicious recipes, we can say that fig is a queen indeed. Who knows, perhaps my next investment will be another fig tree.