Richard Bradley, on Essential Apples and Entertaining Pears

“There is no kind of Fruit better known in England than the Apple or more generally cultivated. It is of that Use, that I hold it almost impossible for the English to live without it, whether it be employed for that excellent Drink we call Cyder or for the many Dainties which are made of it in the Kitchen. In short, were all other Fruits wanting to us, Apples would make us amends.”

“The Pear, in my Opinion is a Fruit no less pleasant than the Apple, although it is not of that general Use : However, we are beholden to it for no small Entertainment in the Winter, when other Fruits are scarce ; whether we eat them raw or baked, they have their Excellencies.”

Richard Bradley, New Improvements of Planting and Gardening 5th edtn (1726), p. 185 & p. 190

Wise words indeed there from Richard Bradley; naturalist and writer, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Cambridge University’s first Professor of Botany. Although om that last point, he was allegedly not a very good one: his rivals accused him of barely teaching his students, and he apparently failed to see through a promise to establish a botanical garden. But then again, the University wasn’t actually paying him a salary for his Professorial duties, which is probably why he had to make ends meet through his writing instead.

In any case: he was clearly a big fan of apples and pears. And who can blame him?

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