Fruits have long been a staple of our diets and a part of our language and history. If we are to believe biblical writing, the very first mention of any kind of food consumption is when Eve handed Adam an apple and said “if you really want to see God, try one of these”. Right there is when fruits started getting a bum rap and becoming the center of controversy. In fact, most botanists today insist that Eve could never have given Adam an apple because apples don’t grow where the garden of Eden is reputed to have been. It was most likely, they say, a fig. I guess it lost something in the translation.
Even today, some fruits are looked upon with disdain. The tomato is a fruit, but for some reason the government of the United States actually passed legislation saying that tomatoes should be called vegetables. Was this some sort of secret government project? Wonder if they had a meeting about that? Can you picture some high ranking official calling his buddies together and saying, “Guys, someone found out about tomatoes. There’s only one thing to do. We gotta make them believe it’s a vegetable or we’re all in trouble!”
Maybe that’s how we got to use the word “fruit” as a means of demeaning people. Think about it…..we sometimes refer to homosexuals as “fruits”. Why? Do we hate the people or the fruits? What do we say when a line of cars is at a standstill? That’s right—a “traffic jam”. If we’re in trouble, we say we’re in “a jam”. If we get our thumb stuck somewhere (insert own joke here), we say we “jammed it”. When someone acts crazy, he’s said to be “going bananas”. If we feel bad about something, it’s considered “sour grapes”. A grenade is considered a “pineapple”, and nothing rhymes with “orange”.
Okay, there’s also a lot of good being said about fruits, I agree. If we like someone, that person is said to be “the apple of our eye”. If a car was really good looking some years ago, it was said to be “cherry”. Back in those days, a good-looking girl was considered a “peach”, although trying to date her might have been “the pits”. Liberace was one of America’s most beloved musicians.
Something, however, has been going on for some years now, and I have to get to the bottom of it, yet no one seems to know the answer. When did blueberries become “persona non grata”? A few years ago, blueberries were everywhere. We had blueberry pies, blueberry turnovers, and blueberry muffins coming out of our ears. Today, a sampling of grocery stores will reveal that they have cartons of blueberries in the produce section but very few compared to the wide varieties of apples, melons, grapes, and bananas.
Look in the bakery section and you’ll find apple, cherry, or strawberry turnovers and pies by the basketful, but in order to find a blueberry pie, you’ll need Hercule Poirot and a voucher from the Department Of Agriculture. It’s not so long ago that the snack shelves were populated by those little miniature blueberry pies, along with all the other flavors. Today, you may find a “berry” pie, but the berries it contains are almost always strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. You have a better chance of finding a four leaf clover than a blueberry pie.
Why have we developed a hatred for blueberries? Is it because they’re really purple instead of blue? Is it backlash against the Smurfs that caused us to shun blueberries? They’re trying to placate blueberry lovers by coming out with blue Kool-aid that they call “berry blue”. Nice try, but we’re not amused. Real blueberry Kool-aid would look like grape juice. Maybe that’s it—grapes couldn’t stand the competition and asked the government to pass another secret law stating that because blueberries are so dark, they actually duplicate the efforts of grapes, and such a duplication was senseless and becoming too costly to maintain.
Eliminating duplication in commercialism is rapidly becoming the norm, which is why General Motors dropped its Oldsmobile division, and Chrysler gave Plymouth the heave-ho. If this keeps up, we may get rid of South Dakota and West Virginia because we already have a North Dakota and a plain old Virginia.
Still, apart from the general color shared with some grapes, there is nothing in nature quite like the blueberry. it has a distinctive smell, especially when you cook them for pies. and that taste…..to me, blueberries are an exquisite taste sensation, and I love blueberry jam with peanut butter sandwiches, blueberry syrup on my pancakes, and there’s nothing like the taste of warm blueberry pie topped with ice cream, or the mouth-watering nuance of a blueberry muffin being soaked by melting butter.
Let’s get off this “anti-blueberry” bandwagon right now and put the little purple fruit back in its rightful place in our bakeries and our lives. Yes, it’s time to once again find our thrills on Blueberry Hill and stop giving blueberries the raspberry.