Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Fruit By Any Other Name is Boring

What plant we in this apple tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs
To load the May-wind's restless wings,
When, from the orchard-row, he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors;
A world of blossoms for the bee,
Flowers for the sick girl's silent room,
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom,
We plant with the apple tree.

– William Cullen Bryant

And not, Party People, with the banana tree. I don't care if Mr. Smarty Pants Dan Koeppel spent the last five gazillion years chewing his fingers to bloody stumps in pursuit of his thesis that the banana is, in fact, the fruit that really changed the world.

When you go to the grocery store to buy apples, what happens? Most likely you spend a wee bit of extra time tapping your foot in front of at least a dozen different varieties. There are eating apples and cooking apples and baking apples and apple sauce apples. Apples for broiling and baking and candlestick making. For tossing and dipping and wrapping and snacking. But there's only one variety of banana. It may be green, it may be brown, and if it's ripe, it's a mellow yellow, but it's still one single variety. Ho. Hum.

And not very much fun. Have you ever strolled through an apple orchard in the afternoon of a particularly mellow spring day, when the perfect storm of sun and wind conspire to coax the tangy-sweet scent of apple blossom out from the flower and into the air for speedy delivery straight to your olfactory system, and if it weren't for the fact that every honey bee in a five-county area were at that very moment also inebriating themselves giddy on the scent, you'd gather up an armful of blooms to press to your face and inhale until your senses shut down from sheer gorgeousness overload? No? Try it sometime. And then try it with a banana bush.

So while I'm always in favor of a good bit of paradigm-busting research, in this case, I say: meh.

To Moi, the apple will always be the quintessential foodstuff of the civilized world. I mean, really, Eve bite a banana? How obvious.


Ms Robinson said...

I see your point on this Moi and as a girl whose first bit of baking at eight was an apple pie, this resonates. We used to drive out to an orchard,not far from the centre of Melbourne and buy cases of them - so many varieties and I can visualise it now.

But in defence of the banana, you can get those little tropical ones you find in Queensland, Asia etc that are just delightful.

The Troll said...

Great closing line! I've never seen an apple orchard. Peach and Orange groves have a nice look and scent. I buy Fujis! Love Fujis!

I bake one, chip one, and sauce one to make my Tri-Apple Delight to accompany Pork dishes.

Doris Rose said...

when I was little we had a couple of crab apple trees next to the house--the blossoms were intoxicating and as kids we loved sitting under the low branches munching some pretty tart apples (no sprays on those babies).

moi said...

Ms R.: So there are banana varieties? I'll have to check 'em out.

Troll: Fijis, good. Pink Ladies, too. Mmmm . . . apples and pork. Post recipe, por favor.

Doris Rose: But major tummy aches, probably, huh?

Aunty Belle said...

Gala, Fiji and The ole Granny Smith's fer me... we has two crabapples on the place heah...

Fer mah money, bananas doan git it. I doan like 'em, doan like 'nana flavored anything. Will eat fried green plantains...tas' as close as I can get.

The Troll said...

Tri-Apple delight is pretty complicated. Chips baked on parchment paper with lime juice and fennel seed. Apple backed with flour/cinnamon and not as mushy as most people make it. Conventional apple sauce.

The Pork Dish that saved my church from bankruptcy is:

INEXPENSIVE pork LOIN Country-Style Ribs. Usually about 2 bucks a pound.

Marinate 15 minutes a side in INEXPENSIVE low-sodium Soy Sauce, INEXPENSIVE Olive Oil, and Montreal Spice.

Bake at 325 for 1.25 hours. Brush on remaining marinade and bake an additional half-hour. BBQ tender without BBQ hassle and expense.

Roughly a third the cost of the insanely expensive ribs they were serving before. And we're selling them at the same price because they taste BETTER.

The idiots were also buying Coca-Cola at Retail Prices and Brand-Name Potato Chips and selling that for what they THOUGHT was a profit.

I put a stop to that with Lemon-Ade and Iced Tea and home-made potato salad.

Church people have no bidness sense! At least at my Church.

upset waitress said...

There are several banana varieties. I grow horse bananas. ms. robinson is probably thinking of lady fingers, so tiny and sweet as hell. Apples to me are a hit or miss, sort of like tomatoes. It looks good on the outside then you bite into it and it's all mealy. Not a big apple fan. Boooo on me.

Gypsy said...

Sorry Moi but I loves me some banana and yes the little ones from Queensland are called lady fingers. It killed me when there was a cyclone that ripped through Qld's banana plantations and destroyed everything. It took months and months for bananas to start hitting the stores again and they were about $2.00 EACH because of their scarcity.

I love apples as long as they are in a pie, crumble or cake, otherwise I'll pass.

Wicked Thistle said...

Damn you, Don Koeppel, plantains do too count!! Especially when they're fried up so nice and served with a side dish of something jungley.

Bananas make my teeth itch, so on that count alone I am against them.

moi said...

Wow, such strong opinions about fruit! Who'd a thunk it?

Troll, I've always found some of the best cooking comes from church socials. Thanks for sharing.

Ms R/Gypsy: Obviously, I am now uber curious about lady fingers. Will go on the hunt.

Upset: But apples grind up and package up so well in little containers for little people dinners :o)

Wicked: You mean, you actually have a vegetemarian dish that doesn't include cheese?

Stepherz said...

I love me some nanners though. I think I'm partial. Perhaps only because Nanner Pudding is God's gift to Earth. Nilla Wafers, whip cream. Ok. Now I'm drooling.

When we go out to eat, and on the rare occassion I actually have room for dessert, I will order a slice of apple pie. I love it. But that's because the Coloradoans don't know about nanner puddin'.

moi said...

Steph: Well, you got me there. I do loves me some nanner puddin'. But you nailed it: it must be done right. In other words, NOT in the Rocky Mountain Southwest :o)

Wicked Thistle said...

Deep fat frying can be substituted for cheese.

Not that Type of Raven said...

Heh, my in-laws have an apple orchard up in Embudo.

Talk about APPLES - APPLES - APPLES!!!!

In fact we still have two bushels of apples stored out in the shed from last years crop even though we are going to have figure out something with them soon.

Orchards are a lot of hard work, and right now it's prunning time up North because of the cold right now; and usually what you see in the store is a drop in the bucket to what's actually picked.

moi said...

Raven: D'oh! I didn't even mention that New Mexico is like, Land of the Apple. Thanks for reminding Moi!