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What are rocket leaves?

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Sweet Pea Jul 20, 2004 10:41 AM

Someone posted some recipes for fresh figs and one calls for rocket leaves. I've not heard of that. Also, oak leaves was in another.

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    Karl S. RE: Sweet Pea Jul 20, 2004 10:47 AM

    Rocket is the proper English language name for arugula. Cooks and cookbooks are gradually migrating towards using rocket instead of arugula.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Karl S.
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      DanaB RE: Karl S. Jul 20, 2004 03:49 PM

      It's my understanding that Arugula is the Italian name for the vegetable, and Rocket is the British name.

      1. re: Karl S.
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        rien RE: Karl S. Jul 20, 2004 03:50 PM

        Yes, it's another name for Arugula.

        1. re: rien
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          rien RE: rien Jul 20, 2004 03:54 PM

          Other names, by the way, are roquette, rugula and rucola. Not sure of the geography in which each is used ... but, roquette definitely looks French. It's a pretty safe bet that the English/British word, rocket, is derived from this source.

          Rien

        2. re: Karl S.
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          jen kalb RE: Karl S. Jul 20, 2004 04:14 PM

          from one american eye, a silly decision, if so.

          1. re: jen kalb
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            Karl S. RE: jen kalb Jul 20, 2004 07:07 PM

            The thinking is that, we don't call carrots or cucumbers (et cetera) by their Italian or French names: we call them by their English names. Rocket is not a distinctively Italian vegetable (though its revival in the USA has accidently largely come from exposure in Italian-inspired cookery -- then again, we don't call eggplants melanzane in the USA, either....), so I can understand this move as quite logical.

            1. re: Karl S.
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              curiousbaker RE: Karl S. Jul 21, 2004 11:11 AM

              Well, we don't always use the English names either. Marrow, anyone? And in England, a lot of vegetables are referred to by their French names - aubergines, for example - while we use the English versions in the States. I accept both rocket and arugula, of course, but considering that in the States at least, the name "arugula" is much more well-known, I don't see any need to bother with a deliberate attempt to change to rocket. Language is rarely logical or systematic.

              1. re: curiousbaker
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                jen kalb RE: curiousbaker Jul 21, 2004 12:44 PM

                succhini is an excellent example of a similar situation - vegetable marrows anyone?

                "aubergine" and "rocket" are both essentially examples of the british following the french

                why make an attempt to ape the british, instead of assimilating languages our own natural way? the only point to uniform nomenclature would be in publishing - and here, we are a larger market by far and make no attempt to conform to the UK in most food nomenclature or weights and measures.

                The second possibility is that "rocket" is somehow considered the common term whereas "arugula" is the foreign hence difficult and unfamiliar term. A version of plain language thinking/dumbing down the text The NYTimes garden editors seem to believe this is necessary when they insist on the usage of "common" names for plants when gardeneners have long since become comfortable with and expect more precise botanical nomenclature. "Black eyed susan" vs. the specification of any number of different rudbeckias, for example.

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          SPARK RE: Sweet Pea Jul 20, 2004 12:41 PM

          I just came back from italy, and they put it on top of pizza!!! I tried it and it was so delicious i had an arugula pizza every afternoon! it is not cooked on top, just placed on top when the pizza comes out of the oven.

          It is usually in 'spring mix' salad - has a wonderful nutty/peppery flavor.

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            e.d. RE: Sweet Pea Jul 20, 2004 12:47 PM

            I suspect oak leaves refers to oak leaf lettuce. The leaves really look like oak leaves. I've seen it both red and green.

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