Fancy a date? These squidgy miracles are wonderfully rendered in this Moroccan shake.
If I ever went completely nuts, I think I might don a purple tracksuit and start a small cult devoted to the promotion of creationism. I trained as a physicist and I'm an atheist, so it would be a bit of a leap. But sometimes I look at the completely unfeasibly brilliant things that evolution is credited with and think: really?
Only last week there was some research in the papers suggesting that we were genetically programmed not to have sex with our friend's partners - which is reassuring news, because my wife has a lot of hot friends and most of my friends have hot wives. Surely only a benevolent god could have thrown us that lifeline.
The world of food is full of such little miracles. Consider the date. "What have the dates ever done for us?" you may ask. Well, a lot as it turns out. They are nature's own little energy gels. It is only when driving about in a desert for a while that the pure genius of the date fully manifests itself. For quite long periods it's all: desert, desert, desert. Then - BOOM! - oasis.
And in the middle of the oasis, a tree that turns a tiny amount of water and a lot of sun into dense bundles of energy (not to mention calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, magnesium and lots of fibre). Not only that, but they can be put in a bag slung over the side of a camel (another one for the creationists) and kept indefinitely for long journeys.
Finally, they are delicious - as demonstrated in this traditional Moroccan recipe (with a twist). If you aren't mad on soya milk you can replace it with milk. And a touch of vanilla ice-cream in place of banana is good for decadence.
And while you are drinking it, have a little Google of figs and fig wasps. Oh Lord, that will really get you thinking.
Make your own date shake
15 whole dates, pitted and roughly chopped
250ml unsweetened soya milk
1 ripe banana, peeled and chopped
2-4 ice cubes
A pinch of ground cinnamon or ground cardamom
1 Put everything into a blender and whizz on high power until it's well blended: thick and creamy.
2 Pour and serve immediately.
This recipe is from Leon Smoothies, Juices and Cocktails: Naturally Fast Recipes (Conran Octopus). The new Leon mini recipe collections publish on 1 April, priced at £6.99 each. To order all four for £20 visit guardianbookshop.co.uk or call 0330 333 6846
Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian