Salt and Shadow

Lemons

Have you ever noticed all of the lemons in Dutch paintings? Peeled, curling rind trailing… Dutch artists produced over a quarter of a million still life and genre paintings in the 17th century and half of them portrayed lemons. The lemon comes from the southeast foothills of the Himalayas, like all citrus fruits, and were spread through the Mediterranean and Europe by the Arabs.


Lemons were highly valued in the 16th and 17th centuries, and would have signified luxury and wealth in cold Northern Europe. They were cultivated in private indoor “orangeries”, or greenhouses by the noble class. The imagery of Dutch still life paintings would have depicted the preferences of the patrons and artists, rather than reality.


This is a gluten-free lemon cake I baked with lots of Meyer lemon juice and zest.