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How About Them Apples? Lessons learned in the Produce Section

How About Them Apples? Lessons learned in the Produce Section

Recently while we were eating breakfast, my husband revealed something about himself that nothing in our 17-year history could have prepared me for. And he said it as if it was no big deal, as if I should have expected — even approved of — his position.

As it turns out, I most certainly did not approve, and to put an exclamation point on it, I’m going to reveal his dirty little secret here in this magazine.

Below is an excerpt from our shocking conversation:

Me: I took a chance and bought these new cherries at the store yesterday.

Husband: Oh, yeah?

Me: Yeah. It was a bit of a risk because I’ve never had this kind before, but they were like $3 less per pound, so I decided to go for it.

Husband: Why didn’t you try one first?

Me: Couldn’t. They were in a sealed bag.

Husband: Oh, I would have just opened the bag and taken one.

Me: What?

Husband: Yeah, totally. I do it all the time.

Me: You do?

Husband: Yeah, I’ve been burned too many times with bad fruit. I always test it first now. It’s the only way — trust me.

Me: Wait, what? You test fruit? In the grocery store?

Husband: Yeah, all the time. Like, if I’m thinking about buying one of those big bags of apples, I’ll just open the bag and eat one. You know, to make sure they’re good.

Me: Wait, you’re telling me you open sealed bags of fruit and eat, like, an entire apple, orange or nectarine right there on the spot?

Husband: Yeah, all the time.

Me: That’s horrifying.

Husband: No it isn’t. It’s practical. Fruit is expensive, and I want to make sure it’s going to taste good before I buy it. 

Me: But isn’t that stealing?

Husband: No, they know people do it. They expect it. Trust me. I do it all the time.

The conversation went on from there with each of us presenting strident arguments about fruit testing. At one point, we both attempted to defend our position using the saying, “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” It was pretty much a disaster. But I learned something about my beloved that day. I learned that my husband, who has bungee jumped off a cliff in Australia, raced cars on the Nürburgring in Germany, skied double black diamonds, married a temperamental Jewish girl from Chicago and brought her to live in a small town in mid-Missouri, is so risk averse when it comes to fruit that he will break social conventions and ignore basic hygiene to avoid, what? A sour taste in his mouth? I simply don’t get it. I think what surprised me most was the attitude of entitlement, as if he is owed a decent piece of fruit or something. The way I see it, whether the fruit is good or bad, it took the farmer every bit as long to grow it and the grocer just as much overhead to sell it. Aside from bruises or obvious mold, you can’t really tell how a piece of fruit is going to taste before you eat it. And the only method of determining if the fruit is worthy of purchase takes the option to buy it off the table because by then it is already in your stomach.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think certain things in life come with inherent risk. Buying fruit is one of them. Marriage is another, along with using the bathroom at a rest stop and trying to snatch a french fry off my plate. You pay your money; you take your chances. There are no guarantees in this life, and if you want to be 100 percent sure your fruit is going to taste perfectly sweet, you’d better buy it out of a can and be prepared to eat all the sugar and preservatives they add to make it taste that way.

Unlike my husband, I am not a risk-taker by nature, but I believe some things are worth the gamble. Appalling fruit-testing behavior aside, my husband is one of them. A good nectarine is another. And you can trust me on that.

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