So, you know when you go to the store for milk, you can never get just milk? After the gym last night I ran in to New Frontiers for…milk. But the apples were calling to me. They were local, See Canyon apples, and they looked DELICIOUS; they also looked different. Different than the typical apples I see in most stores. Oddly, the small, mottled, blemished organic apples appealed to me more than the large, shiny, symmetrical apples. (Yes, I think about this kind of stuff all the time. It drives Denette crazy.)
And here’s where I started getting philosophical. (Denette is rolling her eyes right now).
Until recently the mindset has been shiny = new = good. There is some logic in this. After all, bruised = old = good doesn’t sound very reasonable. (Sounds pretty gross, actually). However, the little red orbs of waxed perfection represent something completely different to me: shiny = commercial = bad.
The main issue here is not that perfection is bad, or even that striving for perfection is bad—those are both goods in my book—but that the appearance of perfection is bad. In the case of the commercial apples, the process of making pretty things is actually deceptive: it hides the imperfections that exist and creates a false impression of fresh loveliness. I’ve bitten into the shiny commercial surface before only to be surprised by the woody dryness of an apple well past its prime freshness date. Because the apple had to drive 2,500 miles to get here, it’s bound to be old and tired after a journey like that.
And do I even need to mention the hidden chemical badness? Probably not.
I’m seeing a trend away from the shiny/new/good perspective, and I hope it will continue. Because if more people develop a different mindset about what indicates good food then demand will go up. Then maybe producers and distributors wouldn’t need to spend so much time and money prettifying, packaging, and preserving our foodstuffs. Instead, they could focus on getting us the best tasting, healthiest local products.
Speaking of healthy and local. Check out this new Co-op in SLO. Good things are happening!