First Time


Hallowe'en is the best time to try all different kinds of candy, from Popeye sticks to Nerds to every kind of chocolate or candy bar you can think of -- they're all in abundance and they're all on sale, especially on 1 November.

I remember eating jujubes in elementary school. I learned early that the black ones, flavoured with liquorice, were not my favourites, and that yellow and green were boring, at best. Some jujubes came with sugar sprinkled on top. Either way they were chewy, and addictive, especially the red ones. Those were meant to be cherry-flavoured, I suppose, even though they didn't taste like any cherry I'd ever encountered. You never know, because for years I'd imagined that the grape flavour in candy and bubble gum and even 'grape drinks' was fake as well, until I recently realised that there is a grape variety from California that actually tastes like that flavour.

Jujubes taste nothing like their namesake. Yes, they do have one! No one was more surprised than I to see a fruit named a jujube for sale recently at that well-known Montreal supermarket, Adonis, as well as its less-familiar counterpart, Sami Fruits, in Lasalle. Jujubes are a real fruit, a fruit that taste nothing like the sticky, gummy candy that's really not that much different from a Swedish berry -- and who knows where that name originated!

In fact, jujubes are closer in taste to apples or to quince. Their name comes, through Latin and French, from an ancient Greek word, and the fruit seems to have travelled in similar fashion, from Asia over to Europe. Whoever first used the name in North America to refer to the candy, must have been familiar with the fruit and enjoyed it as a snack, maybe even in 'candied' form!

Perhaps next time at the supermarket I'll find an original Swedish berry...

November-December 2013

Old Articles by Deniz B. Bevan:
Shakespeare in the Park
Château Ramezay
Walking In Old Montreal
My First Novel
Istanbul Sapphire
Pâté or Pouding Chômeur
An Expression
Ice Apple Wine
Montreal Is An Island
Lavender Fields
Exotic Fruit
Ideas for Your 'Staycation'
Istanbul: I Only Have Two Days To See Everything!
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Bladeby Diana Gabaldon
Approaching Ireland by ferry...
Just Plain Nesin