[This was posted several weeks ago, and I’ve been slack in answering it, so here we go! Oh, and PLEASE post more questions in the comments section!]
Dear Amateur Gourmet,
What, in the name of all that is holy, are capers? Are they animal, vegetable, or mineral? All I know is, anything I order in a restaurant containing capers tastes distinctively of nail polish remover. Why is this?
Thank you for your question! Experts will tell you that capers are the buds of a thorny bush. For example, Ari Weinzweig in Zingerman’s Guide To Good Eating writes: “Capers are the cured buds of a wild bush, or, rather, a group of related shrubs, that grow all over the Mediterranean.”
Yes, experts will tell you this and you may believe them, but the truth is much more complicated. For example, think of “The Great Muppet Caper.” Do you see any thorny bushes in that movie? Or, for that matter, a group of related shrubs? And what, exactly, is Gonzo? This thing goes very deep.
The best answer comes from noted culinary mathematician Zenclaw F. Rizzle who writes: “Spell CAPER backwards. What do you get? REPAC. What does that sound like? TUPAC. Who killed TUPAC? There’s your answer.”
So I hope that clears things up. Perhaps it’s telling that you think capers taste like nail polish remover and Tupac died while getting a manicure.
The Amateur Gourmet