Daily Pic: A mortar filled with the Turkish wild cherry seed known as mahlab. (Also known throughout the Balkans and Middle East as mahalab, mahleb, mahaleb, mahlep, mahalep, mahlepi, machlepi or makhlepi, according to the Wikipedia gods. In English, it’s also the Saint Lucy Cherry.) This banal photo stands for aesthetics grasped through other senses: Grind the seeds, and they give off a lovely bitter-almond smell that also evokes cherries, without really having much in common with the fruit itself. No sweetness, no juiciness – but still cherries. A “cherry” bread spiced with mahlab could be a lesson in Gombrichian picture theory: One thing – a few lines on paper or the hint of a smell – can evoke another, without having all that much in common with it otherwise.

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December 1, 2012