What is this fruit or vegetable?
June 22, 2020 12:19 PM   Subscribe

We have these placemats from Ikea. The other illustrations are pretty clear--pear, bell pepper, avocado, etc. What the heck is this thing in the middle?
posted by stillmoving to Grab Bag (34 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Whimsically rendered star fruit?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:22 PM on June 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

Artichoke or pineapple?
posted by sallybrown at 12:24 PM on June 22, 2020

Apple core? Horned melon?
posted by gnutron at 12:26 PM on June 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

Maybe an apple core? It definitely doesn't look like it's having as much fun as the other fruits and veggies.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:26 PM on June 22, 2020 [13 favorites]

Spinach or another leafy veg?
posted by holyrood at 12:28 PM on June 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

Star fruit was my first thought, but the other things are all pretty standard, commonly-bought items and star fruit doesn't fit into that category. (At least not in the US. I don't know where these were designed, though.) I think I'm going to go with lettuce.
posted by Redstart at 12:39 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't think it has to be anything - other than a fun shape with a face.
posted by niicholas at 12:52 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think it’s an apple core. The stem really says apple to me.
posted by bluebird at 1:07 PM on June 22, 2020 [7 favorites]

A lettuce leaf.
posted by bondcliff at 1:08 PM on June 22, 2020 [6 favorites]

I too thought star fruit first thing, though I agree it doesn't make a ton of sense.
posted by dreamphone at 1:16 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was ready to be on team apple core, but no apple core looks like that! The only way to get that pattern as drawn is to put your apple through a screw-threading machine! Now I'm on team poory-drawn-apple-core because I'm looking at all other known fruit in human existence and nothing looks like that. Every other sentient object on that placemat is easily identifiable and the beet lives in the scooped out interior of a raspberry which is disturbing.
posted by Dmenet at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

also on team Poorly Drawn Apple Core. It looks kind of surprised and a little distressed, as I imagine an apple that had just been gnawed at might feel.
posted by Gray Duck at 1:22 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think some sort of leaf and it's worried because it can't balance like the other fruits and vegetables can. Although it's got the same expression as the broccoli(?) that's rising from the blue trampoline(?)
posted by readinghippo at 1:29 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think it's green grapes being forced to fit into a small space - if you look at the red grapes above and to the right of it (in the basket), they're pretty similar.

Otherwise it's arugula.
posted by Mchelly at 1:30 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

The answers so far are giving me life.

I do not think it's an apple core. No other thing on the whole mat has bites taken out of it. Also, there's another one! It's on the left side, being lifted into the air by the orange balloon. It has a stem on top but! It also has a stem underneath. It too looks stressed and worried. The other one looks stressed and worried. They do not have happy lives. I too think it's some sort of lettuce leaf. Arugula is a good guess.

So....what's the green thing sleeping in the cloud?
posted by the webmistress at 1:31 PM on June 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm considering the other one with the balloon too...

There is so much going on. Broccoli that loves a tree! A lemon and a red pepper snuggling! A turnip and an avocado going on a boat adventure!
posted by readinghippo at 1:35 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

And a -- is it a cucumber astronaut?

As for the fruit in question, I dunno, it's so pointy. Maybe it's just, the artist got tired of all the curves, needed some angles.
posted by Rash at 1:38 PM on June 22, 2020

I am on team imaginary produce.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:50 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m with the lettuce leaf people. Also I think I spotted a different pineapple so my guess on that is wrong. While I still think artichokes are placemat-worthy, a lettuce leaf makes more sense...
posted by sallybrown at 1:55 PM on June 22, 2020

posted by bricoleur at 2:11 PM on June 22, 2020 [7 favorites]

First thought, it's a piece of loose leaf lettuce. Then I looked at a bunch of cute fruits and vegetables images, and it became clear that 1) leafy greens frequently appear in these patterns and 2) there is little agreement on how to depict them. Still, looks like lettuce to me.
posted by Lorin at 2:12 PM on June 22, 2020

Bitter Melon.
posted by wwax at 2:12 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just came to say durian as well. I am fairly confident that's what it's supposed to be - jagged and with the right stem.
posted by past unusual at 2:14 PM on June 22, 2020

Romanesco broccoli (although the stem doesn’t seem right) or African horned cucumber?
posted by sillysally at 2:24 PM on June 22, 2020

Star gooseberry!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:40 PM on June 22, 2020

Some bitter melons look a lot like that.
posted by jamjam at 3:39 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yes my first thought was bitter melon, followed by some kind of pattypan squash situation. Either way I'm voting Mystery Gourd.
posted by Mizu at 5:49 PM on June 22, 2020

The design company posted on their Instagram!! It’s an apple core.
posted by missmary6 at 6:19 PM on June 22, 2020 [39 favorites]

Now that we know it’s a “malic snufkin” could anyone explain how that equals “apple core”? Google is being the opposite of helpful and teaching me about moomins??
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:25 PM on June 22, 2020

Malus is the genus name for apples, snufkin indicates that it is kaput (snuffed) yet still cute.
posted by momus_window at 9:10 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was also going to say apple core. As a Swede, however, I was also pretty confused by the "malic snufkin" translation into English that Ikea posted.

An apple core in Swedish is technically a "kärnhus" literally a house for seeds. However, it's often called an "äppelskrutt" instead. That is a compound word consisting of äpple | apple (as äppel-, a word form for compound words) together with "skrutt."

Skrutt (sometimes "skrott") is the term for something a little broken, a little weird, leftover, a bit miserable, something that failed, or someone who is maybe unkempt and weak in some way.** It's also a fairly common nickname for cute little things. So you may have people refer to their kids as "min lilla skrutt | my little skrutt."

In the Moomin tales, there is a character called "Skruttet | The Skrutt," who in English is called Miffle. The Moomin tales also use the "little skrutt" diminutive to refer to small beings. In particular, they are mentioned in the song about Snusmumriken, the character which in English is called Snufkin. The Snufkin song goes:

For every knytt* and every skrutt*
he plays a little melody

So the Snufkin part may have to do with Moomins after all. Malic is easy. It is a word denoting something to do with apples.

So if you use Google Translate to get the translation for äppelskrutt, you get "malic snufkin." If you use Bing or other online translations, however, you do not. The Ikea person probably just used Google Translate, got "malic snufkin" as the result, and just went with it...

But Google Translate accepts edits, so I'm guessing that someone entered snufkin it as the suggested translation for skrutt at some point in the past, and it stuck. Personally, I think that whoever put "snufkin" into Google Translate messed up. They knew it was supposed to be a Moomin character, but instead of Miffle they put Snufkin. Malic Miffle would have been much more satisfying!!

And now, somehow, it has become the official Swedish to English translation for apple core... :)

**It's related to the word "skruttig" which means poor or decrepit. Usage examples: "A skrutt like you couldn't have accomplished anything." "It would be skrutt if they couldn't help you."
posted by gemmy at 9:52 PM on June 22, 2020 [22 favorites]

Love all of these answers—thanks! Now I can’t in-see Apple core. Though I was convinced it was an exotic Japanese fruit! I also appreciate the Swedish etymology breakdown. Not sure if it makes a difference, but the design team who made the placemat appear to be Swedish themselves (so they didn’t use google translate for the naming)—wonder how they settled on this funky label?
posted by stillmoving at 11:52 AM on June 27, 2020

Not sure if it makes a difference, but the design team who made the placemat appear to be Swedish themselves (so they didn’t use google translate for the naming)

I'm sure the design team used äppelskrutt to describe what that design is, given that they likely worked in Swedish. I just meant that the person who posted on the design firm's instagram is probably a Swedish native speaker as well, so they might have used Google Translate for part of the post. I'd guess that "an eaten apple" is how you describe an apple core if you don't know the term.
posted by gemmy at 6:40 PM on July 21, 2020

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