August 05, 2005

How D'You Like Them Apples?

Like Kevin, I've pretty much given up on Red Delicious Apples--I think when I read that they were in fact bred for looks rather than taste. They look mighty fine, though. Red skin, green flesh, that apply apple shape--it's almost obscene. If there's an apple that tastes the way a good Red Delicious looks, let me know.

Anyway, it's near to all Granny Smiths all the time for me--though I might do well to find out when Granny Smiths are actually in season. (And I'm connected to the internet right now... Washington says year-round, but harvested here in mid-October. Does that mean that in early October I'm eating year-old apples? Probably not, according to this guy. I understand that there is a Southern Hemisphere, which has seasons at different times--maybe that's got something to do with it.)

Which reminds me--why do people sometimes use "apples and oranges" to describe things that cannot be compared at all? The correct use is to describe a pair of numbers that should not be compared because they are in different units or are otherwise inapt for the comparison. But it would be wrong to use "apples and oranges" to describe two things that cannot be compared at all, because apples are clearly better than oranges; at least, the best apple is miles better than the best orange, and the worst apple is better than the worst orange. This is indisputable.

Posted by Matt Weiner at August 5, 2005 01:44 PM

Are mandarin oranges included in the set of oranges? I don't think there's any apple grown that is better than the best tangerine... certainly not clearly better.

Oh, my darling clementines.

Posted by: Richard Mason at August 6, 2005 10:21 AM

That's clearly ludicrous. I know that oranges are better than apples with much greater certainty than I know the premises of any argument to the contrary.

Posted by: Dr Pretorius at August 6, 2005 08:39 PM

Why are you trying to dispute the indisputable? I ask you, is Dr P's blog named "orangecidercheesefudge"?

[fortunately when I double post on this blog I can delete it....]

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 6, 2005 10:00 PM

Most of the time both apples and oranges suck, because grocery store fruit is appalling. Even strawberries. But at least you can squeeze a bad orange and get juice out of it, whereas a bad apple, all you can do is throw it away.

But a *good* apple--which can be had easily in, oh, say, Washington state--is really really good. I thought I didn't even like apples until I was almost 30. And same thing for a good orange, which can be had obviously in places where they are grown, e.g. California (and probably Florida). Given the choice, I would prefer the orange.

Posted by: bitchphd at August 9, 2005 11:24 AM

Oh no, I didn't even think that location would matter! I'm moving from Washington to New Jersey, and I love apples. Am I doomed?

Posted by: Shieva at August 10, 2005 09:04 AM

I'm also a big Granny Smith fan but have been pretty disappointed by those in the stores of late. Maybe it's seasonal, or maybe they're overproduced or something. A good supermarket alternative is the Pink Lady. Slightly sweeter, but just as crisp and much more flavorful.

Glad to see you made it to Lubbock, by the way. Expect to see us there in March for spring break.

Posted by: another matt at August 10, 2005 10:29 AM

The problem here is that you can't look at an orange as just an orange, but rather as part of the citrus fruit continuum. So regarded, they clearly trump apples; after all, even apple cider (the non-alcoholoic apotheosis of apples) requires some lemon.

Posted by: ben wolfson at August 11, 2005 10:01 AM

Shieva, belated congratulations on starting at Rutgers! Let me know if you experience an apple drop-off; I'm not very good at seeking out local/in-season produce, so I'm not the one to ask.

Ben, it seems as though you just don't like fruit. Fruit juice and fruit are different entities entirely, so that it is absurd to compare apples and oranges by comparing apple cider and orange juice. And 'alcoholic' is spelled with only two 'o's.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 11, 2005 11:29 AM

Who was talking about orange juice? Not me. And you're the one who brought cider into the discussion. Your attempt to consider fruit without its juice is bizarre; when one has an apple (or at least many apples), and is considering what to with them, one of the options is always making cider, or at least juice. The same is true with oranges; you can always juice them. To deny this is to show that you are the one who does not like fruit. You have to consider the total fruit potentiality in the total fruit situation.

And 'alcoholic' is spelled with only two 'o's.

I was spelling "alcoholoic".

Posted by: ben wolfson at August 11, 2005 02:28 PM

Well, I assumed that in your comment apple cider was meant to be compared to orange juice, because comparing apple cider to oranges would be an apples-and-oranges comparison.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 11, 2005 05:38 PM

In calling apple cider the non-alcoholic apotheosis of apples (alcoholic apotheosis being apple brandy), I was implicitly comparing it to other forms of, and means of consuming, apples. I thought that much would be clear.

Posted by: ben wolfson at August 11, 2005 10:15 PM

Apotheosis, see? I post this definition solely because of the illustrative sentence included.

Posted by: ben wolfson at August 12, 2005 12:57 AM

Nice illustrative sentence! I wonder what it was?

But the point remains: You were talking about apple cider for the purpose of comparing it to oranges, and for that comparison to be apt you must be comparing it to orange juice. So you were implicitly talking about orange juice.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 12, 2005 10:04 AM

You simply must be mind-too-fining me. This is impossible.

Posted by: ben wolfson at August 12, 2005 02:30 PM

You're joking? Does anything here seem like the sort of thing you wouldn't say?

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 12, 2005 03:47 PM

Shieva, I'm living in New Jersey, and good apples can be had. There are even orchards where you can pick your own (or buy them), many varieties, in their season. And the tomatoes are good. I think tomatoes are good in NJ because people know their tomatoes. The Rutgers agricultural school (yes! NJ IS the garden state, which I think means it's the back yard of NYC and Philadelphia) has bred many famous varieties of tomatoes.

Posted by: Matt's mom at August 12, 2005 04:50 PM

I'm not joking, but you must be. How can I be clearer? I brought up cider because, I thought, one must consider not merely quotidian apples but the best use to which an excellent apple can be put. Since even that use requires the addition of citrus (and a cinnamon stick) to really excel, argued I, oranges (seen as part of the citrus continuum) have an advantage. I wasn't comparing cider to orange juice, nor need I have to have made sense.

I don't see how this could have been clearer.

Posted by: ben wolfson at August 12, 2005 04:52 PM

Well, there's that, but I just don't think it follows from "the highest form of apple requires some citrus" that "some other citrus fruit is better than apples." Chocolate is nasty without sugar (excepting molé, I guess), but it would be insane to argue that this demonstrates the inferiority of chocolate to cotton candy seen as part of the sugar continuum. INSANE, I say. And this is leaving aside the possibility that cider is so much better than oranges that even apples in their pure form (accepting your valuations) are better than oranges.

Anyway, I think we're back to the argument that your claim that cider is the highest non-alcoholic form of apples demonstrates that you just don't like fruit. At least, not apples. Nothing like a good crunchy apple.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 13, 2005 09:30 AM

I like apples. A nice, crunchy fuji or some such. But I've been burned so often by apples that deceive me with their waxen beauty and harbor inwardly nothing but mush.

Posted by: ben wolfson at August 13, 2005 10:22 AM

Which brings us back to the Red Delicious conspiracy.

One could argue that even if I am right that good apples are better than good oranges and bad apples are better than bad oranges, oranges are still better than apples because they're more likely to be good. But I've had to deal with enough squishy oranges to make me skeptical.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 13, 2005 11:32 AM

Hi Matt's Mom,
Thanks for the note - I feel a lot better about NJ now! (I've been a bit intimidated by it, having only lived in WA and AK, but at least now I know that as I'm hiding from the crime and pollution, I'll have good apples to comfort me!)

Posted by: Shieva at August 13, 2005 08:52 PM

How were the apples in Alaska?

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 14, 2005 02:10 PM

Hey Matt,
Surprisingly (at least as far as I can recall), they were only slightly worse. Though sometimes there wouldn't be any good ones (our produce selection in Ketchikan isn't too great), and I don't remember finding fantastic ones as frequently as I have here. But I'll be going home to visit in about a week, and will get back to you on this very important topic if I've gotten anything wrong. :)
Hm, 'too great' is an odd phase . . .

Posted by: Shieva at August 14, 2005 07:31 PM

I meant statements of the form 'x isn't too great' are strange. Sorry . . .

Posted by: Shieva at August 14, 2005 07:41 PM