Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Appalling, or -- Appling

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Or at least, that's what my mother always said to me as she sliced up pieces of this nutrient-rich fruit. According to USApple.org, weighing in at an average of 80 calories, this contender is free of fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Not too shabby, eh? And there's more: they're "a natural source of health-promoting phytonutrients, including plant-based antioxidants;" contribute "the mineral boron to the diet, which may promote bone health;" and "because of apples' high fiber content, the fruit's natural sugars are slowly released into the blood[stream], helping [to] maintain steady blood sugar levels," part of why the first thing a diabetic reaches for is a slice of this crunchy snack.

With all that in mind, it is with deepest regret that I cannot tolerate the feel of a fresh raw apple in my mouth.

Wtf?!

Chill out and let me explain. This aversion to apples is not one of taste--since the sweet juices with its slightly tart flavor is kind of pleasant--but rather of texture and sensation. The peel is at such odds with the fruit itself, waxy, thick, and requiring a great deal of chewing to ensure that it doesn't get stuck in your throat. If you eat an apple without its peel, it has a tendency to turn brown rather quickly from exposure to the air, which is not aesthetically appealing.

The crisp crunch of the apple when you bite into it bothers me, too. Many consider it a refreshing feeling as the molecular structure breaks and juice flecks out and hits your tastebuds; others like the powerful feeling of crunching into something with a gratifying hollowly snapping sound. I am not one of those people. I prefer food with a little more give and a little less bite.

However, this is my main beef with apples: the squeak. The what? The squeak! People often look at me like I'm crazy when I try to describe this sensation. There's something about apples, with the crunching and the sweetness, that make it so that my teeth squeak and grate against one another inside my head, and it reverbrates and echoes through my skull like nails across a chalkboard ... straight into my brain. In all, it makes my brain hurt.

Although an apple a day may do a whole lot of good, it's just way too agonizing of an experience for me. I mean, there are types out there with different flavors that feel differently, but the end result is always the same no matter what variety I try to eat. Fuji apples, with their more crumbly texture and sugary taste, are more tolerable than most; Golden Delicious have a good flavor as well; Galas are even crumblier than Fujis at times, and even milder. Red Delicious, the most common of them all, strikes me as particularly dry and grainy. But Granny Smiths, those tart little green ones that are so delicious as pie filling, or enthrall children and adults alike as candied apples? To hell with them--they make my teeth squeak the most. I'll take my apple a day warm and under streusel; thanks.

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