The trouble with fruits

Like all Greeks, I refer to all mandarin oranges, clementines and tangerines as “mandarins”. But each time we go shopping with my JBQ, this is a problem and it has started to anger me.

Eugenia: Sweetie, get some mandarins.
JBQ: They don’t have mandarins, they only have clementines!

or

Eugenia: Sweetie, want a mandarin?
JBQ: Oh, this is not a mandarin, it’s a tangerine.

We don’t classify them differently in Greek, and there is a good reason for that: they all look exactly the same. And be assured that we produce all these varieties near my home in Greece in large quantities (we export to Russia too), so we are not talking about clueless harvesters here. We are talking about practical people instead. If there is not a really good reason to call a fruit a different name, we simply don’t. Why complicate matters? I let all the botanists to call each variety the way they want to, but in common language I see no reason to distinct between these fruits. There is a reason to distinct between the blood, sweet or bitter oranges, because it has a major impact in the taste and looks, but in the mandarin’s case this is not really an issue.

12 Comments »

Edwin wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 2:44 AM PST:

There are sweet and sour ones and at the local outdoor market here (the Netherlands) they are sold as such (sweet, sour, with seeds, seedless, by different name). And yeah, the taste between the sour ones and the sweet ones is quite different.


memson wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 4:10 AM PST:

You did read Clementines are a hybrid mix of Orange and Mandarin right? A Clementine is physically and geologically not the same type of fruit. I don’t care what greeks or even geeks call them. It’s not the same fruit. Satsuma’s are different too.


Oliver Herold wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 5:54 AM PST:

I’m not Greek but I do it the same way :D


mikesum32 wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 7:46 AM PST:

From the headline, I thought you were going to bash some gay people.


Adam Scheinberg wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 7:55 AM PST:

To many North Americans, Asian people all look the same. So I propose we get rid of the names “Japanese,” “Chinese,” “Vietnamese,” “Taiwanese” etc and just call them Orientals. After all, they all look the same and it’s easier and more pratical than trying to figure out their actual origin.


Stefan wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 8:19 AM PST:

“To many North Americans, Asian people all look the same. So I propose we get rid of the names “Japanese,” “Chinese,” “Vietnamese,” “Taiwanese” etc and just call them Orientals. After all, they all look the same and it’s easier and more pratical than trying to figure out their actual origin. ”

Like you call Europeans?


Oliver Herold wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 8:28 AM PST:

I do think we’re talking about fruits, not human beings. But if you want to mix it, try it with *human* should work too :)


memson wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 10:24 AM PST:

Um, no they don’t, not exactly. Mandarins and Tangerines are the same fruit. Clementines are a hybrid mix of Orange and Mandarin and taste completely different and look dissimilar. Satsumas are completely different too.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 10:29 AM PST:

I have clementines in my table right now. They taste exactly as I expect them, the same as whatever we generally call “mandarin” in Greece. I see or feel or taste any difference.


Carl wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 11:02 AM PST:

Here in Norway, we haven’t had mandarines in our stores for over twenty years. We only have clementines. I learned this recently, as we all just refer to clementines as mandarines anyway. Even children who have never tasted a mandarine in their lives uses “mandarine”. :)


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 16th, 2007 at 11:56 AM PST:

>Like you call Europeans?

Haha, well said!


Luis wrote on January 17th, 2007 at 12:10 PM PST:

There are lots of apple varieties, red, yellow and green, some sour, some sweeter, etc… and yet we call them all apples. Same with pears.

Eskimos have lots of words to refer to snow (different varieties), but we just have one.

There is nothing good or bad about having just a common word or having more specific ones. It’s just a cultural thing. But yes, when two people with different culture talk about something for which they have different words to refer to it, it may be difficult.


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