One for Wednesday – Sept 25, 2013

Salt Spring 2013 031

The other day I was sipping coffee at a cafe and I overheard the chef say to a customer, “Name one natural food that is blue?” No, not blueberries those are purple but, the customer had nothing to answer and the chef said, “Yup, no blue foods are natural.” Well, I sat there and immediately thought of a few things I eat that I consider blue. The borage flower for one, but that’s a bit obscure for most folks, even some chefs.

The real problem with the chef’s question is that it was based on the limitations of human color perception. I can’t claim to understand color perception well but I understand enough to know that claiming that a color doesn’t occur naturally, in any subset of colorful items (i.e. food) is erroneous. Nature’s paint brush far exceeds our own limited imagination. If a color exists, nature has put it to use. In fact, it’s my suspicion that we’ve barely cracked that paint box open, even within the spectrum of what we can see.

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6 thoughts on “One for Wednesday – Sept 25, 2013

  1. That chef didn’t know about dasheen, which is a starchy tuber eaten in the Carribbean, and known as “blue food” or “provision” in Tobago. The flesh of the tuber is blue-grey in colour, and can be used just like potatoes. The leaves of the dasheen plant are used to make callalloo.

  2. This was an interesting post. I have read somewhere that there is not a single colour gene for blue (in plants) as there is with red (for example). Blue is apparently made up of a combination of colour genes. I am not sure if this information is right – are there any plant geneticists out there who could verify this?
    Perhaps this explains why ‘blue’ foods are harder to come by.

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