Saturday, November 13, 2010

My mind is BLOWN.

So, as I said before, I have pretty much zero time to cook this semester. And when I do have time, chances are I'm way too exhausted or drained to actually cook something worth blogging about. However, as this is a food blog, I feel okay writing about food in a totally not-cooking way.

Today at the grocery store, I was debating between cooking something for dinner or just eating brie on french bread and some apples--the latter option won out by far. But while I was thinking about what I might cook, and vegetables, I was looking at the asparagus and artichokes. These are, hands-down, my favorite vegetables ever. They're both super delicious, and anyone who thinks differently is crazy.

So I get home, and I'm talking to one of my friends about asparagus, and I mention that it's my favorite vegetable. Of course, I then had to stop and say, wait, no, artichokes too. Both of them. I started thinking about them and how similar they are. The way the leafy part at the top looks, for example, and the way the stem has coarse stringy things on the outside with tender vegetableness on the inside. They have to be related, right?

Artichokes growing (via)

Asparagus growing (via)

They even grow the same way! I mean, the artichokes have a lot more leaves, yeah, but they both grow in a big stalk with layered leaf-like things at the top. I decided that it was about time I figured out just how closely related they are. You remember the whole Kingdom-Phylum-Class-Order-Family-Genus-Species thing from biology, right? It's okay if you don't, really, because I just listed them.

Now, if someone had asked me to place a bet on this prior to my research (highly scientific wiki-ing of the two vegetables), I would have put a lot of money on "family." Their genus and species can be different, but I thought everything above that would be the same. You probably guessed by the the title of this post that my assumption was wrong, but--where would you think they were? Which do you think is the most specific classification they have in common? Think about it. Think hard. Okay, I'm about to tell you, but I'm curious as to what you would have thought had I not told you.

Phylum. They don't have anything in common beyond the phylum. They're both Plantae Angiosperms, but that's it. Branches off after that: Asparagus are monocots and artichokes are eudicots. I don't really know what those mean, but apparently it has something to do with the structure of their pollen and something about their seeds.

They're no more related to each other than they are to lilies! Wow.