Friday, 3 July 2009

Strawberries, at Home and Abroad: Wild Ones and the Wide World

The very best strawberries are wild ones. My sister who was only two or three was the champion at picking them those couple of summers we spent some time on the Oregon coast near Yachats. We would walk along the top of the cliffs and look for the berries, my mother, Laurie, my aunt Norma and my cousin Susan. The mothers were hoping for a treat for dinner (we were not rich, by any means, and I now realize that a real vacation was something they must have budgeted carefully.) Susan and I ate the few berries we found as soon as we spied them, but Laurie was young enough to be delighted at being praised for her sharp eyes, and carefully brought all she found back to the grownups.

I’ve rarely tasted strawberries as good, even though we await strawberry season here eagerly. The price at the Jean Talon Market has started to drop—a crate of 12 baskets for $18 Wednesday—but because of the rain, they aren’t as sweet as usual. Nevertheless we’re eating a lot because the season is so short and the winter is so long.

When I was in Portugal in May the first of the strawberries—quite good ones, too--were in the markets. I almost missed buying them though because I didn’t recognize the Portuguese word for them. It’s morango, and like many things Lusophone it bears little relation to the words for strawberries use on the other side of the mountains. The Spanish word is fresa and the French, fraise which appear to come from the Latin fragum, but I have no idea what morango’s etymology is.

In case you’re travelling this summer, here’s a list of strawberry translations, adapted from Wiktionairre.

Afrikaans : aarbei
Albanian : luleshtrydhe
German: Erdbeere, féminine
Bulgraian : ягода (ǎgoda)
Catalan : maduixa
Cheokee : ᎠᏅ (anǝ)
Chinese : 草莓 (cǎoméi)
Korean : 딸기 (
Croate : jagoda, féminine
Danish : jordbær, neutre
Espéranto : frago
Fareon : jarðber
Finnish : mansikka
Frisien : ierdbei
Galician : amorodo, masculin
Hebrew : תות (he)* שדה (he)*
Hungarian: eper (hu)*, földieper (hu)*, szamóca (hu)*
Ido : frago
Indonesian : arbei (id)*
Italian: fragola, féminine
Japanese: イチゴ (ja)*
Kinyarwanda : kere (inkere)
Kurd: tûfiringî, féminine
Latin: fragum
Lenape: tèhim
Lithuanian: žemuogė
Dutch: aardbei, aardbezie (nl)*
Norwegian: jordbær
Polish: truskawka
Russian : земляника, клубника
Senaca: katsistõtaˀshæˀ
Swedish: smultron, jordgubbe
Swahili: stroberi
Czech: jahoda
Turk: çilek
Ukrainian: полуниця (uk)* (polunicǎ)
Zulu : istrobheri

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