Remember when people ate apples and pears instead of pomegranates and star fruit?
There used to be like four fruits. Apples, oranges, pears…um, bananas. I don’t know. Maybe there were more. Oh, in the summer there were peaches and nectarines and plums. I liked them all. Except pears. And anything with a brown spot. I would open the refrigerator and balk and brown-spotted fruit, exclaiming, “Ugh! I’m not eating that! It has a brown spot!” And my mother would shout from the living room, “There’s nothing wrong with it – just eat it. You kids are so spoiled.”
Peaches were my favorite. I liked them hard – almost not ripe. A rock-hard peach with no brown spots was the greatest five minutes in the world (at least at that time in my life). The only thing that could ruin such a perfect peach was when part of the pit would come off with the bite.
My second favorite fruit was a nectarine. Same criteria as the peach, except, obviously, no fuzz.
Next came plums. Same criteria as for peaches and nectarines. A soft plum was like biting into a water balloon.
After this triage of summer fruits I would have to say my next favorite fruit – a distant, distant fourth place – was the apple. But I did not like the McIntosh, or Red Delicious, or even Golden Delicious. The only apple I liked was the Granny Smith. And these I also liked hard and crispy with no brown spots. I was told, however, that Granny Smith apples would give me a bellyache, and should be used only for baking pies. So I had to eat the McIntosh, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious, prentending to like them because that was what society expected of me.
There were other fruits but I did not like them that much. Oranges were okay but hard to peel and gave me sticky hands. Grapes and cherries were better than starving but were somehow unsatisfying, being the potato chips of the fruit world. Watermelon I despised. To this day I cannot figure out why watermelon is considered such a treat.
As I emerged from childhood I learned of other fruits. When I got into high school I was introduced to kiwi fruit. In college I heard about mangoes. During law school I even ate something called a rhubarb. Peruse the produce section of your local supermarket and you see a panoply of exotic fruits, including the biblical pomegranate and fake-looking starfruit. I have not yet partaken of most of these new fruits. But if I do I will be sure to check for brown spots.