Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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fruit has long been appreciated as a source of sweetness. Sweetness in fruit, a primary indicator of ripeness, guarantees digestibility in those wild-gathered foodstuffs on which our ancestors depended. “The Cree Indians of Canada,” observed anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss (1977), “believed that the Creator told humans that the first berries to be picked had to be boiled. Then the bowl had to be held first towards the sun, who was asked to ripen the berries, then towards the thunder who was asked for rain, and finally towards the earth, who was asked to bring forth her fruits.”