Thursday, March 19, 2009
For an embarrassingly long time now, I've been reading The Fruit Hunters by Adam Leith Gollner. It's an interesting book, maybe a little gee-whizzy. I'm kind of partial to it because he credits my mother with today's widespread use of Meyer Lemons. (Full disclosure: my mom is Lindsey Shere. That makes me awfully lucky).
There are so many fruits to try--Gollner estimates that 70,000 to 80,000 different plant species bear edible fruit. Will I ever taste pitabu, the fruit that tastes like orange sherbet, almonds, and raspberries?
The one fruit I read about that didn't tempt me was the grāpple. Made in Wenatchee, Washington, they're grape flavored apples. The name is a little unfortunate. On the other hand, what else would you call a cross between a grape and an apple? An 'ape'?
(That will always remind me of the talking stuffed monkey my daughter had. It told one joke, in its annoying electronic voice: What's a monkeys favorite fruit? Apricot. Get it? Ape-ricot!)
Turns out it's supposed to be pronounced 'gray-pull'. Good luck with that!
And by the way, it's not really a cross between a grape and an apple. It's a Fuji or a Gala apple that's undergone a process that infuses what was once a perfectly happy apple with artificial grape flavor.
I wouldn't have tried these if I hadn't come across them in a Vancouver grocery store last week. I was traveling--I was curious--I thought I should give things a try (I did, after all, eat tripe). So I bought them. As soon as I got them back to the hotel room, I realized my mistake.
Grāpples might look like regular apples. But they smell like Bub's Daddy grape-flavored bubble gum. Like a lot of the gum. Our room smelled like my 5th grade classroom.
We gave the grāpples a try, expecting the worst. But surprise--when I bit in, the grāpple tasted like a sweet apple. For about a millisecond. And then my mouth was flooded with the most artificial, chemical taste of every bad grape-flavored thing I've ever tried. Put together. And it wouldn't go away.
That's as far as I got in the grāpple. I think I'll hold out for miracle fruit, and even work on learning to love mangoes.