Monday, October 24, 2011

How To Eat An Apple

My dad loved apples.  MacIntosh apples to be specific.  Home grown Macs.  Long before the Mac was a computer and reigned king among computers the humble MacIntosh apple was king in my house.  The other day while at my favorite produce stand, Andy's Produce, I saw these locally grown MacIntosh apples.  To be honest it's been at least 30 years since I last bit into one.  They were very popular at home in BC but when I came to California  I couldn't find them any more.  I moved on to the more prestigous Gala or Rome or here in Sonoma County, the Gravenstein. Imagine my surprise, last week, when I found home grown organic Macs - a whole heap of them just waiting for me to take some of them home.  

The following is a bit of prose my dad wrote about his love of apples.


You start to eat an apple around August, long before they are ripe.  When the last of the June drop is over and the July sun starts to put a coy blush on the apples' delicate skin, when the tree is taking up moisture, you begin to size up your harvest.  The saliva begins to flow just thinking about it.  By September you have estimated the size of your crop.  The apple spray warded off disease and pestilence and October seems a long way off.  When the day comes, the apple picking ceremony is almost sacred. 
 But they are not ready yet.  

So you store them somewhere close and cool, and wait.  Every day you say,
 "They are not ready yet."

You choke down the lump in your throat.  By and by, in about two weeks, your cellar greets you with an exquisite fragrance.  You look into the box and are overcome with an uncontrollable passion.  You take one, polish it up and polish it to a brilliant crimson on your shirt.  Nothing else will do, it has to be your shirt.  In your hand you hold a precious jewel, full of sun and the taste of robust earth.  A gift touched by the hand of God.  

You bow your head for a moment over this rare specimen of heavenly love and say, 
"Thank you God for such a splendid thing as an apple."

Then you close your eyes in reverence and open your mouth.  But first... let me explain.  there is only one way to eat an apple.  Don't try to be polite and quiet and delicate.  An apple (I'm talking about good apples, something like British Columbia MacIntosh reds), must have a snap to them.  They must crack at every bite.  And juice must fly and run down your chin and you've got to chew loud to bring out the taste of sunshine and and spring rains and December cold.  And don't ever peel an apple. 
 How would you like to be eaten naked in the public gaze?

An apple must be eaten in it's entirety.  Anyone who throws away the "core" throws away half an apple and the best part.  There is no core to an apple.  You eat the blossom end where the goodness is.  You chew up the seeds and the little seed pods, and you even eat the stem.  Give it all a good chewing.  Ruminate until nothing but a kind of die-hard cud remains.  Now here comes the punch line in apple eating technique.  Whatever is left you just shotgun out of your mouth in a loud explosive escape.  Just let the chips fall where they may.  For the sake of courtesy it is wiser to carry out this last performance outdoors.

Your apple is gone.  You've cracked loud on the bites.  You've sprayed the juice around, masticated it all from seeds to stem and nothing remains but a rosy glow in your stomach.

Thank you, God, for apples.
G.P James

And yes, he ate apples just like he described!


  1. Apples are my kids absolute favorite fruit to eat! :)

  2. When i started to read you post i thought of Dad's love of apples and this piece...thanks for including it and for invoking that wonderful picture of him eating an apple. What i remember most is when he got older he had to cut the apples up into wedges to eat...sometimes right at the tree with a pocket knife or in his favorite arm chair... but the crunch and his pleasure in the process was never diminished...

  3. how sweet! I can't fathom eating the core, but what a sweet memory!

  4. Great post!! Makes me want an apple! :)

  5. Love it! Glad you found some MacIntosh apples and it brought this back for you :)

  6. That is an awesome memory! We had apple trees in our back yard growing up. There's nothing like a fresh apple off the tree. But no core eating for me! :)

  7. Great post. I bet everyone has his or her own special way to eat an apple. My new favorite is Honey Crisp, so delicious. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment!

  8. What a great post! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Great post Sylvia, sounds like your dad is a great guy! He elevated eating an apple to art!