Years ago in the scorching heat of the summer months, my mom took me peach picking. We walked along the rows of trees picking the peaches straight off the branches. Some went into the bag while others went straight into my mouth. They were warm and ripe. The juice dripped down my chin and I wiped it off with the back of my hand so that by the end of the day, I was your average sticky mess of a child.
Somewhere down the road I developed an allergy for peaches. I can’t pinpoint the exact year but one summer, I took a bite of a peach and my throat began to itch uncontrollably. Each summer after that, I’d bite into a peach praying the allergy had magically disappeared but unfortunately, it only seemed to be getting worse. Then one morning this summer, I ate a peach thinking maybe it was just a particular kind of peach I was allergic to or it was just my hormones or something. However, not only did my throat itch but so did my entire face and then soon after my eyes were bloodshot and puffy. So that night, I tried cooking one, determined to somehow, someway have a peach filled summer. Although cooking them dispelled the itchiness and swelling, my stomach ached for the rest of the night.
So no, peaches are not my favorite fruit. And I must say I’m beginning to notice a similar pattern with plums. Give it another year or two and those will be banned from my diet as well. Other fruits like kiwis, blackberries, and cherries also give me an itchy throat but I tend to just deal with the nuisance because fruit in general is just so irresistibly tasty.
Luckily, there are fruits out there that give me no trouble at all. Let’s take apples for example. I love apples and thus I will now commence discussing apples for the remainder of this essay.
Years ago in the brisk air of the fall months, my mom took me apple picking. We walked along the rows of trees picking apples straight off the branches. Some went into the bag and others straight into my mouth. They were crispy, tart, and juicy. The farm had a long list of apples to choose from but after going there year after year, Mom and I knew exactly what to get- Crispins and Wine Saps. When I went away to college, Mom made sure to include these in my Rosh Hashanah care package.
The thing about apples is that they’re pretty much fantastic all year round. I’ve had great apples in February. Sure, they’re bright green with a shiny coating of wax but that doesn’t make the taste any less satisfying. Last summer, during one of my parent’s weekly trips to the farmers market, they discovered summer apples. SUMMER APPLES. They were rough and dull in color just like the authentic tree-picked apples of autumn and tasted equally as crisp, tart, and juicy. Forget peaches because now I can have two solid seasons of those straight-off-the-tree apples.
Nothing is more of a let down than a bad apple. I’m not talking about a rotten apple. Perhaps mediocre is a better word. You pick up an apple assuming it will be crunchy and delicious but instead it’s a bit mealy and the flavor just isn’t there. You have to decide whether to continue eating it or throw it out. If you continue eating it, then you have to subject yourself to one disappointing bite after another. If you throw it out, then you get that first-world guilt of wasting food; an image of a child with a cleft lip appears in your head and it just spirals out of control from there. I think if I were ever in a real fight with someone, instead of engaging in any violent activity, I would just send them a whole bunch of mediocre apples. They will all be mealy and flavorless and with each apple the person will have to make that excruciating decision of eating it or throwing it away.
For the most part, I think everyone enjoys apples. No one really has a problem with apples. Peaches, yes, but not apples. They’re like the Switzerland of fruit. Apples are great dipped in honey or peanut butter. They go great in salads with cheddar cheese and even better in a pie. Scientists love apples. Nutritionists love apples. First grade teachers really love apples. I love apples. You love apples. As the saying goes on my mom’s side of the family, apples are simply “the best.”