Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Rerun: You're Damn Skippy

Cheapskate that I am, I am always looking to save a dollar so I can double my vast fortune.  And we love peanut butter around here, so I make sure to buy the BA jars of Skippy (there might as well be no other brand).

The cheapskate part comes in when the peanut butter is gone.  I don't throw the plastic jar away, no sirree.  I rinse it out, and clean it in the dishwasher (making sure to use the "air dry" setting, not "heat dry," which melts the plastic into an amorphous blob resembling the Orioles' vanishing playoff hopes.) 

And then I reuse the empty jars for storing grits, flax seeds, sesame stix, peanuts, Wasabi peas, pretzels, nuts, bolts, pencils, glue sticks, touch up paints poured out of a gallon can, and 1,001 other things.  I am careful to label each jar if there's a chance of confusing Kitty Treats with Uncle Sam Cereal, just to avoid gagging either myself or the cats.

I use plastic because I have no clay jars.  (That would make a great DJ fake name, though:  "Just about 5 o'clock on your way home with The Beatles on WXXX!  This is Clay Jars with ya...") They had clay jars way back in the day, though.  Let's go back to the days of the Kingdom of Judea, some 3,000 years ago, when Judean date palm trees were abundant in that part of the world, cooling the desert with shade and yielding that sweet fruit called dates.

The tree is mentioned in the Bible several times.  The Hebrew name for the tree is "Tamar," and that is what King David named his daughter.

But when the Romans invaded Judea in 70 AD, there were vast forests of palms, and then just as now, people, in their inexplicable urge to pave over earth's bounty, destroyed the palms.  They were extinct.

Or WERE they...?

In the early 1960s, explorers who really dug Herod the Great were rooting around under his palace in modern Israel, and these archeologists found a clay jar with an expiration date of 2,000 years ago, which was far too long ago to take the contents - a pile of seeds - back to the ancient supermarket.  So the seeds sat around in someone's desk drawer at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, until ten years ago, when a botanist named Elaine Solowey planted one of them, expecting nothing all the while.

"I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" - Elaine Solowey 

Not seedy anymore
The old seed sprouted, all right, and it flowered in 2011. And now it seems to be flourishing.   

So, they might cross it with another tree and see what fruit it bears, or they just might let nature takes its course.  

But if it goes to seed, I will be more than glad to send over some empty Skippys so that your grandchildren's grandchildren's great-great-great grandchildren can find those seeds centuries from now!

No comments: