Eat Your Vegetables Day
"A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing." ~ James Boswell, The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785)
Possibly one of the only vegetable tartans, this beautifully shaded green tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, gives visual cooling relief on a hot summer's day.
The meaning of the phrase "cool as a cucumber" does not really refer to its temperature (although the insides of a cucumber are substantially cooler than ambient temperature). The phrase actually means "to remain calm, assured and composed."
The phrase was first recorded in a poem by the British poet John Gay 'New Song on New Similes' in 1732: "Cool as a cucumber could see the rest of womankind".
Cucumbers have been the subject of convoluted science, especially during the years of interest and inventions in longitude science, particularly in the 18th century.
Jonathan Swift's in his Gulliver's Travels (1726) satirized this trend when Gulliver meets a ragged dirty philosopher who 'had been eight Years on a Project for extracting Sun-Beams out of Cucumbers, which were to be put into Vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement Summers.'
Cucumbers also appear in relation to longitude in a satirical poem from 1732, A hymn to the Chair: Or, lucubrations, serious and comical, on the use of Chairs, Benches, Forms, Joint-Stools, Three-Legged Stools, and Ducking-Stools. Among the chairs
which the author discusses, he suggests that:
'Had we of Archimedes's Lumber,
Enough to make a Chair for Slumber,
We'd find by Lines in a Cucumber
For a discussion of one of today's more fanciful "scientific" beliefs, that cats are terrified of cucumbers, click the cucumbers!