An Apple is an Apple

I’ve been eating fruit for quite some time. I can’t say exactly how long, but I think it’s reasonable to think it’s been over forty years, depending on when my parents first started feeding me solids, and when they introduced whirled fruit into the regimen. I even have a list of my top ten favorite fruits, because lists. And you’ll note on that list that apples got an honorable mention (because I like them baked in things) but didn’t crack the top ten. So that might explain something of what follows.

More and more, I’m noticing people getting all gourmet with their apple selections. I go to a farm stand, and there’s not just “apples.” There are all sorts of named apples. Gala. Red Delicious. Macouns. Honeycrisp. And supposedly, these are all different apple experiences. Like, you can bite into one and have a certain expectations of what it will taste like versus what a different strain will bring to the table.

Yesterday I had a long debate about apple types, where multiple people tried to convince me they could see a difference between Macoun apples and Gala apples. And it felt like they were pointing out subtle variations in shades of white. They’d look at two apples and see all these differences between them. The color. The shape. Bumps on the bottom.

I looked at them and saw . . . two apples.

“Try eating them,” they told me. “Totally different.” So I tried eating them. One tasted like an apple. The other one tasted like . . . an apple.

I get that there are differences in some apples. I’ve eaten good apples and bad apples. I don’t like mushy apples. I don’t like sour apples. I only sort of like sweet apples. But maybe my commitment to apples just isn’t strong enough for me to care to distinguish the difference in the varieties. Maybe my brain just looks at them, shrugs, and says “Do we really need to care about this?”

I mean, when I go to the store, there’s just one banana section. It’s not like there are all these different strains of bananas to choose from. You get what you get. It’s yellow (or maybe green or brown, depending on ripeness). It’s curved shape. You peel it. You eat it. Case closed. Yes, there are clearly different types of bananas. There are some that are thicker and some that are stumpier. But in the end, they’re all bananas, just like apples are all apples.

If I were to bite into an apple and it was going to taste like an orange, then I’d want to know that going into my apple eating experience. I’d want a heads up that this type of apple was an orange-tasting-apple. But unless it’s something drastic like that, what’s the big deal? They’re all apples.

I realize this post is going to get many people popping up to tell me (online or in person) just how wrong I am, and just how much I need to learn to properly appreciate apples. To which I will happily agree, assuming they’re up for me telling them all about the different varieties of Magic: the Gathering cards, and how they should each be used in different situations. Or if that’s too geeky, let’s talk about surround sound system set ups, or television pictures, or the variation in quality between all the Star Wars movies or the Lord of the Rings films.

In other words, it seems like anything you want to study and devote time to can offer you some rewards, if you actually care about the item in question. And I discovered yesterday that there are some hardcore apple geeks out there, and I ain’t talkin’ ’bout computers. But just as I haven’t taken the time to care about Japanase anime, I also haven’t delved into the many wonders of apples. And that’s okay, just as it’s okay by me that you might not be able to tell the difference between 720i, 1080p, and 4k televisions. Or why a Black Lotus would be worth thousands of dollars while a Blacker Lotus is only worth five.

If you love apples, go nuts. Have a blast with your Black Oxfords and Mutsus and Blue Pearmains. But realize that your hopes of getting me to understand and recognize the differences between the two are likely going to leave you frustrated. Though if you’d ever like to bring me an apple cobbler, I won’t turn you down. Regardless of the variety of apple you used. Just make sure not to skimp on the cobbler.


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