Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Apples, the sybarite's version

I wrote recently about an unhappy experience with a bag of  "ready to eat" carrots (pre-washed, pre-sliced), and that got me to thinking about nice it is on occasion, in a totally sybaritic way, to have somebody else prepare your foods and maybe even pop those grapes directly in your mouth for you.  Actually, I was thinking about apples.

I am an apple lover and I can't begin to estimate how many hundreds if not thousands of apples I have eaten in my life, and probably half again that many that I have served to others.  And while I know it's possible to just crunch away on the whole fruit, if I'm at all within reach of a knife I will cut my apple apart and pare out the core and seeds before eating it.  If I'm bringing an apple for a picnic or brown-bag lunch, I'll usually pack the knife too.

My mother spoiled me as a kid by fixing my apples this way.  Even when she hit her 90s, if she knew you wanted an apple she'd get a knife and cut it up for you.  Oh, Mom -- you were so good to us!!

So I was fascinated to read an article in the New York Times magazine five years ago about food scientists who are beating their heads against the wall in the search for a way to make and sell sliced apples.  I guess for people whose moms aren't as generous as mine.  That article has stuck in my mind for all these years, and when I got to thinking about ready to eat foods I went back and re-read it.

I came away with the mixture of moral superiority and sadness that also hits you sometimes while watching reality TV shows.  Are people so spoiled and rushed that they can't cut their own apples, or cut up one for their kid and stick it in a plastic bag?  Are people such pathetic weenies that they can't eat a whole apple and figure out how to throw away the core?  (Apparently market research reveals that people find the cores disgusting and wasteful.)

And most of all, will a kid who eats apples only from plastic bags ever grow up to love apples in all their crisp, juicy glory?  Will she know the delicious hassle of the spray onto her glasses when she takes that first bite?  Will she have a clue about what Hamlet is talking about when he alludes to the worm in the apple?


  1. And how wonderful that first fresh pick of the season was....or sitting in the apple tree eating green apples because I couldn't wait.

    I still love to slice them and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar...not much sugar....somehow just cinnamon was a little too much!


  2. My vegan daughter likes to quarter and core an apple for lunch. She spreads each section with peanut butter and artfully arranges raisons on top. It fills a plate and looks so beautiful and healthy. I like mine with chocolate chips.