When Dr. Husband told me last night that Steve Jobs had died, I found myself surprisingly sad. For his part, he said he didn’t feel sad so much as a sense of loss—like if Thomas Edison died. (He’s still around, right?) Loss, sadness—it’s kind of the same thing, isn’t it? After sleeping on it I realized that I was feeling a sense of loss/sadness not so much over Steve Jobs, who I didn’t know at all and could not have picked out of a police lineup, but over the loss to—and possibly of—Apple. I mean, think about it. Imagine that yesterday Apple died—all of Apple. The ugly, unwieldy-in-retrospect Apple II your parents bought in the eighties, the cute Mac that got you through a zillion high school and college papers, your sleak, sexy i-Mac that you quickly replaced with your first MacBook laptop, your lovely MacBook Pro, your beautiful iPod, your beautiful tiny newer iPod, your shockingly compelling iPhone—all of it GONE. Poof. Vanished. Snatched from your hands while you weren’t paying attention.
Anyway, I was thinking about Steve Jobs and how I hope the magic of Apple didn’t die yesterday, too. Then, because I’m pregnant and obsessed with food, this led me to think about apples with a lower-case "a" because it’s the only food item I’ve ingested this pregnancy that could even remotely be categorized as a “craving.” Small, organic, tart, apples grown somewhere in this state I now call home. It’s not so much that I find myself dying to eat an apple, it’s more that I’ve discovered that I can tolerate them, whereas usually they’re a bit of a struggle for me. Usually they just feel like too much work (much biting and chewing) for too little payoff—not how I feel about sweet corn or artichokes—both of which require considerably more involvement, so it can’t just be that I’m completely lazy.
For the past six or seven weeks, apples have tasted pretty good—and the fact that they’re high in fiber and good for me (unlike, say, Frosted Shredded Mini Wheats) has led me to down a dozen or so per week—about twelve times my normal fruit intake. They’re perfect for eating in the car as I’m driving somewhere, and since they take a while to eat, they help reduce the amount of food I end up consuming in day since I must eat at a near-constant clip to keep my nausea at bay.
But you know how a lot of people who claim not to like vegetables have never actually had a fresh-from-the-garden experience with one? It makes sense, right, that someone who has only ever been offered a pale, semi-albino, mealy tomato slice would think that they don’t like tomatoes. I sure as hell don’t like—and will not eat—a mealy tomato, and if I’d never bitten into one plucked off the vine, I would think I didn’t like tomatoes at all—other than in the form of ketchup or marinara sauce. My husband didn’t know why anyone would love sweet corn until I brought some just-picked ears home from the farmer’s market and boiled them for just a few minutes and then he was all, Ohhhhhhh!
Point being, why are we so willing as Americans to eat such SHITTY, SHITTY PRODUCE?
If your experience of apples is a giant Red “Delicious” from Safeway, you’re unlikely to develop a fondness for the things. Growing up, my mom always bought Granny Smiths, which tended to be less mealy than a “Delicious,” but they still weren’t anything I was psyched to eat. Then my dad brought home a basket of fresh kid-fist-sized apples from a business trip to Michigan one time, and I bit into one and was all, Ohhhhhhh! After that, I would pretty much only eat apples straight off the tree, including in high school where a handful of apple trees grew in the schoolyard, and on days warm enough to eat outside, we would supplement our lunches with their fruit. (Welcome to the Midwest, people.)
After plowing through two whole bags of cute, tasty, little organic Gala apples the past two weeks, I’ve started running into a mealiness problem. I’m pretty sure the apple bags at my local food co-op were dropped off three weeks ago and have not since been replenished. Apple for apple, they’re an inedible mealy mess. I even braved Whole Foods yesterday in search of my prized Galas, but when I got them home and bit into one, it, too, was mealy and bland.
It was the equivalent of some cumbersome, clunky IBM or Samsung or Dell littering the planet with artless function—no pleasure or beauty anywhere to be found.
RIP, Steve Jobs. May the magic of Apple long outlive you.