Sometime in the early 1800s, the Thai royal family began the practice▼ of carving fruit into elaborate patterns. According to legend, it was one of the king’s favorite concubines▼ who started the practice as part of a festival. She added small fruit carvings to traditional lanterns so that she could make her lanterns▼ more beautiful than all the other concubines’. This legend has little basis in truth, but it doesn’t change the fact that fruit and vegetable carving has been a part of Thai tradition for around two hundred years.
Thai fruit carving began as a decoration for the tables of the Thai royal family. Since then, it has spread throughout Thai culture. The fruit is often carved into the shape of flowers, which are frequently stylized▼ in repeating patterns. Little carved animals such as swans are also common. Table centerpieces▼ are usually made from larger fruits like melons. Watermelons are especially popular as their white rind▼ and pink flesh make a perfect contrast, but so are pumpkins and pineapples. For smaller garnishes▼ on plates, a chef might use smaller fruits and vegetables, like lemons or even ginger.
As Thai cuisine spreads across the globe, high-end▼ Thai restaurants are using more traditional garnishes like carved fruit. It is a difficult skill to master as it needs very precise movements, and there is a set of specific tools for making the most complex patterns. These tools include small knives, scoops, and peelers. The best Thai fruit carvers, however, use only a single small knife to turn fruit into works of art. It’s a delicate art that doesn’t last for long, which may be why Thai fruit carving is so valued.
1. Who invented the art of Thai fruit carving, according to legend?
(A) A Thai monk.
(B) One of the king’s concubines.
(C) Some people at a festival.
(D) Fruit vendors in the Thai capital.
2. What is true about carvings for the centers of tables?
(A) They are more complicated than smaller carvings.
(B) They always include a piece of ginger.
(C) They are usually made from larger fruits.
(D) They can only appear on tables of the royal family.
3. Why are watermelons popular to carve?
(A) Watermelons have a cultural significance.
(B) The colors work well to make the patterns.
(C) They are the largest fruit that can be carved.
(D) They are the king’s favorite fruit.
4. In what way are expert fruit carvers different from regular carvers?
(A) They only use one specialized knife.
(B) They exclusively carve watermelons.
(C) They all work for the Thai royal family.
(D) They work for an elite cooking school.