Fruits and their role in history
You never know when and how some seemingly trifle will affect the policies or economies of countries. For example, fruit. At Rodari, they generally make politics personally, with the help of revolution, but in real history, politics is decided, rather, around them. Fortunately, only sometimes. Not very nice to depend on the fruit.
Lemons were not very popular fruit for very long. They were gradually added to baking and made lemonade from them, but in general, these fruits were not much appreciated until it was proved that the lemons in the sailors ’diet prevented the development of scurvy. Since the trade was very tied to the sea routes, the demand for lemons soared sharply.
As a result, on the island of Sicily, for example, there was a real boom and lemons became one of the main sources of income for local farmers. It led to unexpected consequences. First of all, lemon orchards spread over many hectares were easy to rob, and systematically robbed: the thieves didn’t earn much less than honest gardeners. Secondly, where money rotates, there are also offers to share. At least in exchange for protection from thieves and other fans to ask to share. So in Sicily, the mafia was born, which later began to take control of far less legitimate types of business. It happened in the late nineteenth century, and in the twentieth the hands of the Mafia reached out to the United States.
And lemons in the USSR, according to legend, began to grow like this. One day, Stalin invited the first secretary of the Georgian Communist Party Central Committee, Mgeladze, to his dacha and began to walk along the paths with him, leading the conversation. Every few minutes, Stalin offered Mgeladze to eat lemon, boasting, saying, despite the fact that lemons only grow abroad, he, Stalin, raised these lemons in his greenhouse. When it became sour from the treat in the mouth, Mgeladze took the hint and solemnly assured that soon lemons would grow in the USSR not only in the greenhouse of Comrade Stalin. Soon they began to grow in Georgia.
A popular component of marmalades, sweets and baking lemons became due to overproduction of lemons: when sailors stopped buying them in tons, manufacturers realized that they could be offered to another market. According to one of the legends around lemons, they even paid women’s magazines for recipes for sweets or meat using these citrus fruits.
Likewise, oranges producers in the USA later arrived. This sunny fruit was so popular for breakfast – it was eaten for dessert with a special spoon, but they ate only half of an orange at a time. To make Americans consume more oranges, manufacturers have launched the myth that the juice from them is extremely useful and strengthens the immune system. Under the influence of this myth, even peditra began recommending that babies drink orange juice from the age of four months. In addition, the producers of oranges claimed that the flakes filled with juice are more useful than those filled with milk: there are still battles on this subject.
Now, when a banana is considered to be quite a popular fruit in order to give it a child to school, and when many people eat breakfast with bananas, it’s hard to imagine that a hundred years ago in Russia they didn’t understand and did not like bananas. Now they, too, are not considered the main fruits in the diet, but still sold, and successfully, in every supermarket.
The situation changed because of Stalin: he once happened to try a ripe banana. He tried not one, but with colleagues, and those just did not come to the delight: starchy, the taste is not the brightest. The same grape, for example, tastes better. But once Stalin liked it, they began to buy bananas in Europe (at a high price!) And sell them in some stores in large Soviet cities (also not cheap). Mikoyan did not understand why to spend government money on the purchase of these strange fruits, but he did not dare to contradict.
Once, unknowingly, Stalin was served on a table with a bunch of green bananas – the chef clearly had no idea what they could (and even needed) to let them ripen in a warm dark place. They tasted like potatoes. Stalin was angry. He also understood little in bananas, he decided that the Minister of Foreign Trade was stupid or in order to keep part of the money for himself, bought low-quality bananas in Europe. The scandal lasted several days. The minister was saved by the fact that Beria and Mikoyan were quickly removed from office and exiled from the leader’s eyes.
A little later, the USSR began to take bananas from the Chinese, Vietnamese and Africans as payment for military and agricultural equipment. Many born in the USSR are sure that the term “banana republic”, denoting a country completely dependent on the cultivation and sale of tropical fruits, started from here. In fact, the term was coined by the American writer O. Henry.