May 4, 2008

Fruit is overrated

Yes, dear reader, I am one of those people who doesn't go nuts over fruit. Unless it's dried. I like the dried version and it likes me.

What had me thinking this? Well, I had parked a blog idea, swiped from Paula, and thought I'd offer it up this Sunday. But I was bamboozled by the first question: "What do you like about fruit?" The options given are:

  • There's so many different kinds to try
  • It's better for you than eating candy
  • It's a quick snack that you can grab
  • The sweetness
  • The intense flavors
  • That the taste changes as it gets riper

I kept looking for a none-of-the-above but couldn't find any. What would be the closest reason for me to eat fresh fruit? It's juicy. On very hot days there is nothing better than a couple of perfectly ripe nectarines or a deep red slice of watermelon. Stuck in a hotel conference room all day, fresh fruit makes a lovely break from the stronger stuff like coffee, or the pure sugar kicks like Danish, but not always. I don't always want fruit. I am not drawn to it.

One thing I never liked as a kid was fresh fruit in my lunch box. An apple could sit there till it wrinkled, only to get thrown away. It will sit there for that long because I'll be waiting for the impulse to suddenly want a bite of fruit, but that impulse doesn't come. I'm still that way, which is why I buy dried fruit. (Speaking of dried: I just tried dried wild apricots for the first time, wild ones being a bit tangier than the cultivated ones. They are delicious!) In my body, fresh fruit does not remove hunger pangs, fresh fruit does not fill me up, fresh fruit does not tide me over till meal times, and fresh fruit does not regulate my digestion (quite the contrary).

And that is why I say fruit is overrated. I am a bit annoyed at well-meaning Norwegian politicians who want to give every child in school fresh fruit every day, and that means an apple, pear or banana for each kid each day. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who a) has no liking for fresh fruit and b) has no stomach for it. I'd like to see the kids be given more of a choice, but sometimes I get the impression that the people who need educating are the adults. The adults suddenly get a bee in their bonnet (in this case, the "5 servings a day" campaign to promote more fruits and vegetables in the diet), and then end up going for some one-size-fits-all solution. In other words, you'd better like apples and bananas.

I liked vegetables when I was a kid. Not all of them, but most, and especially raw. We'd dig for wild turnips ("nepe") and eat them right then and there, find a good potato forgotten in the field after harvest and just wipe it off and eat it, but we'd also steal apples and go blueberry picking when they were in season. Fruit is a once-in-a-while food for me. I'd sooner gnaw on a carrot than an apple. But I like those fruits that get used like vegetables: Black olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocados.

There is one fruit I will eat fresh, though, and which has managed to be a nice substitute for chocolate when I have a craving for something sweet: Dates. Too bad they're out of season now. At least I have the wild apricots.

6 comments:

Sravana said...

I had rarely thought about my ill-defined relationship with fruit - until your post today.

I am not a fruit person. I will also go for a carrot (or celery) before I'll grab an apple. I do like fresh cherries and apricots (but they are SO expensive!), but prefer cooked apples, bananas (in oatmeal!). I love fresh lemon in my tea, or just in water, but oranges leave me cold - too TOO sweet.

Which brings me to another fav raw fruit: grapefruit.

If I could eat anything at all, all day, I'd spring for beef, breads, cheese, broccoli, chocolate, and the above fruits. Oh, and KALE. I love bitter leafy veggies. :)

The only place that I can eat a raw tomato is on a hamburger - the acid gets to me.

Sravana said...

An aside: I gave up on juice, when I realized how quickly I gained weight when I drank it. Now the only fruit juice I'll drink is cranberry - the unsweetened kind. I *love* it with seltzer water. It has to be diluted for me, because it's SO TART. :)

Sparkling Red said...

There seem to be lots of people who love fruit. I can take it or leave it. I eat an apple every day as a morning snack, but that's usually the only fruit in my diet. I agree that it's not terribly satisfying.

nicole said...

I like fresh fruit but they are overrated regarding the vitamins.
And yes, dried fruit are much better a snack than anything else that's sweet :D
I can also go weeks without fruit. ;)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Sravana, fruit as ingredient in foods is OK with me, too. Apple pie is better than apples, as it were. I can also tell you don't get the kind of oranges we import to Norway; I think they are too tart. :-)

Spark, I will often but not always have an apple or banana as an afternoon snack; they're offered free at work as part of my employer's five-a-day initiative.

Nicole, you must be my lost twin. :-) And yeah, many people aren't aware that vegetables are more nutritious than fruits.

Sparkling Red said...

That is an excellent initiative! I would definitely eat more fruit if it was free at work.