Some clown recently Tweeted:
“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting a tomato in fruit salad.”
Hmm. Can you really imagine anyone deciding, on that piece of
information or any other, to add tomato to a fruit salad? [Heston
Meanwhile, I think real wisdom is recognising that ‘a tomato is a fruit’
barely counts as knowledge at all. Tomatoes are still vegetables, rather
than (culinary) fruits. They are (botanically) fruits, rather than, say, flowers
Scientists develop technical vocabularies, sometimes using vernacular
words. This is wisdom the way ‘starfish aren’t really fish, so don’t put them
in a fish pie’ is wisdom, or ‘sun dogs aren’t really dogs, so don’t try and put
one on a lead’.
To a botanist, “fruit” includes runner beans, cucumbers, hazelnuts and
rose hips, as well as things you might think of as typical culinary
fruits (=sweet stuff you can put in a pie and/or eat with cream), like
gooseberries. But, please note, raspberries and especially strawberries
are neither (true) berries nor true fruits, while aubergines, bananas, okra,
peppers and tomatoes(!) all are berry fruits. Yet, never forget that cashew
nuts and brazil nuts and almonds are not nuts but seeds, while mushrooms aren’t
vegetables at all… Once you’re inside all that, as I believe ‘O’-level students
once were (take a bow, Sal), then you are wise in the ways of fruit.
To a specialist, daisies aren’t flowers. There’s no such thing as a
butterfly, or a toad. Or, to a cladist, there is no such thing as a fish.
I don’t see why you should care, or be misled into making unwise salad choices.