Red delicious, white trash
I’m just a simple country boy. But after 20 years of urban living I’ve picked up a few things about gourmet food here and there. Sure I don’t always have the most refined tastes, I may enjoy a jar of Jif rather than some organic self-blended peanut butter, for example. And before married life, I did my share of bachelor cooking. Everyone’s tripped the light fantastic and spiced up some Kraft macaroni and cheese with hotdogs – but I actually created my own new bachelor taste sensation: chilighetti. That’s a can of only the best store-bought chili over some finely cooked spaghetti noodles. Mmm, mmm. Don’t you want beans in your pasta? That’s some fine cuisine back in Ohio. Ok, but with all that, I’m not a total ingrate – I can appreciate the finer things in life. I’ve expanded my palette over the years and enjoy quality foods when I can get them.
After (too many) years as a poor struggling musician, a recent increase in income in the last few years has caused me to stop shopping at my old stalwarts like Fred Meyer, Safeway and Food Valu. Instead I now spend way too much money at the New Seasons on Interstate. I enjoy the increased quality of the goods I buy, the organic and sustainable stuff – I’m down with that. But, good God, people – is it too much to ask for the “friendliest store in town” to carry some friggin’ Red Delicious apples?? What’s friendlier that a bright red shiny sweet delicious apple? It’s “America’s favorite apple”, after all!
Ok, New Season’s produce section has an excellent selection of organic produce. And every time I go there I search in vain for my little apple friends. But I am disappointed again and again. And after shopping there regularly, the idea of getting my fruits and veggies at Safeway again gives me the creeps. It’s akin to stepping back behind the counter at Music Millenium, living in a studio apartment in a meth-addled building on Burnside, and having 20 bucks to buy all my groceries for the week again. I just can’t go back. But now I have to make a special trip to Freddie’s or Safeway to get some Red Delicious apples. So, why is this? What does New Seasons have against these apples? Are they just too mainstream, too boring, too white trash? Oh, I’ve tried the other apples, but they’re too tart, too small, not shiny enough, not big enough to cut in half and slather with Jif – frankly, just not red and delicious enough.
But, as it turns out, it looks like America loved the Red Delicious too much. This article in the Washington Post makes the case that years of modifications to the fruit to make it last longer, be more tasty, to have that bright shiny color have actually made it inedible. It’s like the Red Delicious is the fruit world’s Plastic Surgery disaster, the scary Burt Reynolds of botany. So, is New Seasons saving us from ourselves? Or is there some snooty produce buyer somewhere laughing at the thought of stocking something so gauche?