I consider myself a man of fine taste. I watch good television, I dress and groom well (since August, anyway), and I only choose the best foods to enter the temple of my body. Imagine my surprise then when I saw the following headline screaming across Facebook: “Good Riddance to the Red Delicious, an Apple That Sucks.”
One of my favorite snacks is apples with peanut butter. It’s quick, easy and tastes good. I eat Red Delicious apples because…well, those are the apples I’ve always eaten. On some level I’ve been dimly aware that there are other kinds of apples, like the green ones, but no one eats those. Here was the suggestion though that not only was my preferred apple inferior, but that I’d been missing out on a series of taste sensations this whole time. Was it possible that I was an apple plebeian, stuck in the ways of orthodoxy simply because Red Delicious was what I knew?
I shared my concerns with one of my coworkers. The next morning, I came into work and found the three apples above. I was humbled by her generosity, but also baffled: what the hell is a “honey crisp” apple? I felt like I’d had a Macintosh apple before, but didn’t remember it well enough to say. And isn’t a gala a party or something? I figured it was time to stop asking myself rhetorical questions, and start letting my tastebuds do the talking.
Eating those apples one at a time was a revelation of flavor and textures. The honey crisp was sweet and sharp, biting at the corners of my mouth as I bit into it. The Macintosh had a twinge of bitterness, and I could feel my cheeks tingling with each chew. The Gala was something of an enigma, somewhere between the two but not strong enough to have its own flavor. Each apple felt like meeting someone new and distinct. And then I returned to the old standby, the Red Delicious.
After the others, the Red Delicious tasted like paper. Its flesh was dry. The skin was waxy. The seeds were big and prominent. If eating the other apples was making new acquaintances, then eating the Red Delicious was realizing that all the negative things your family has been saying about your best friend for years are true. But despite all that, your best friend is your best friend, warts and all. Those new apples might seem interesting and sexy, but their flavorfulness is also kind of disconcerting. Drake put it best- no new friends.
In the end, it seems that I am but a commoner, a man rooted in tradition and expectations of what an apple should be, instead of what it could be. Yet my eyes have been opened. The Red Delicious is an inferior apple, but that inferiority has its purposes as well. There’s no pesky flavor to get between me and my crunchy peanut butter.