Cruising for Honey
Before candy bars, before ice cream, before almost every kind of sweet treat known to man there was – and still is – honey. The sticky golden sweet substance has been found in clay jars dating back 5,000 years ago, it is mentioned in the Bible, and it seems that a depiction of people gathering honey from trees is painted on cave walls dating back 8,000 years ago.
Many cultures and religions feature honey prominently in their food and traditions because honey is made all over the world, not just in one area. Here is a roundup of special honey dishes or customs you can encounter all over the world. Whether you cruise to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean or even Australia, you are bound to find honey dishes and different uses for this beloved ingredient.
Dish: Baklava. This Greek pastry is made with filo dough layered amongst chopped nuts and decadently sweet honey. Greeks love their honey and produce more than 12,000 tons of it every year.
Tradition: Abhisheka. Hindus will pour honey over the image or statue of a deity during this special form of worship.
Dish: Honey Walnut Shrimp. The Chinese use honey to sweeten up their main courses by glazing chicken, beef and shrimp in the sweet stuff. Ancient Chinese texts show that China developed the idea and practice of beekeeping.
Tradition: Sweet New Year. Jews celebrate their New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah, by dipping apples in honey to signify a sweet new year to come.
Dish: Sopapilla. This a sweet fry bread that is drizzled with honey. Mexicans also mix honey with lime juice and use it as a glaze over grilled fruit. Honey was very important in the Mayan culture, it was thought that their bees were a gift from god.
Tradition: Sainthood. Ancient Romans believed that if honey was found on the lips of an infant, not purposefully placed but somehow appearing on the child’s lips, that child would become a saint.
How do you use honey? Share your recipes, rituals or traditions in the comment section below.