Part 1: Snow White style
Well, I made a promise, and I’m going to stick to it. I’m going to eat fruit. I swear.
If you’ve never met me before, allow me to set the scene: I am a human adult, and I genuinely have not eaten fruit in its normal, raw form in my living memory. Smooth juice and certain cocktails are generally fine, but that’s as close as I will get. I don’t remember why, as a very small child, I decided to cut out an entire food group, but once that decision was made I stuck to it like the stubborn little brat I so often was. And then it just became a habit, and now it’s just… a Thing. It’s just one of the Things about me.
The thing is, it turns out that if you just don’t have a certain flavour or texture for your entire life, it can become really overwhelming. I tried to eat an orange segment at university and I had to spit it out. I can just about eat a strawberry, but I would only have ONE, and only if I am being mercilessly mocked by my strawberry-eating peers.
When people find out about the no-fruit thing, they often try to find some sort of logic to it. But you drink juice and cocktails? Yes. But not smoothies? No. But a fruit cocktail is just a smoothie with alcohol in it! I know. But you eat fruit-flavoured sweets, right? No. Really? But they don’t even taste like fruit! I just don’t eat them, I never did. But WHY?
There is no logic. There is no reason. This kind of fussiness, when you genuinely can’t explain it, is not about flavour or texture. It’s not about being picky for attention. It’s psychological, and it can bring up genuine feelings of panic and fear.
Other than the fruit thing, I have a pretty healthy relationship with food. But I’m looking at this apple and I genuinely feel quite anxious. I’m having to psych myself up in the same way I would for a job interview, or an exam.
It doesn’t help that when I was emailing Hattie about this, her only advice was “Don’t break a tooth”. Can that happen? Is that a thing? That sounds horrible! Why do people love apples so much? Why have they become so associated with wholesome teacher’s pets and the covers of sexy erotica novels when they can BREAK YOUR TEETH?
When you think about it, apples actually have a lot of very conflicting symbolism.
Anyway. I’m procrastinating because, as ridiculous and illogical as it may be, eating fruit is kind of a big deal for me. I’m sitting, staring at a Royal Gala apple, feeling real fear and I know that enough is enough. I made a promise to myself, but more importantly, I made a promise to the internet.
I take a bite.
My teeth don’t break! Biting the apple makes that classic apple-biting sound, and unsurprisingly it tastes kind of like really posh apple juice. Go figure.
I don’t immediately feel like I need to spit it out, which is a genuine relief, and after a couple of bites I start to get used to it – although it still tastes a little too sharp and I’m not sure I enjoy the weird feeling of breaking the skin. Still, it’s working!
I feel a rush of pride, like a kid who’s finally learnt to ride a bike without stabilisers – look, dad, I’m doing it! I’m really doing it! – and I even decide to take a triumphant selfie.
But then that wild, apple-eating high begins to fade. It starts to feel like it’s going on forever, and I’ve managed to get lipstick EVERYWHERE. Who knew that was a hazard?
I begin to quite enjoy the crunchiness, but the more I eat, the more the strength of the flavour builds and starts to bother me. By the time I bite all the way around, I feel like I’m basically done. It seems a bit of a waste though. I complain about this on Twitter, and Hattie tells me that this is why she chops hers up. Others agree.
Maybe next time?
SUCCESS RATE: 5/10. Didn’t spit it out, but didn’t finish it either.
Part 2: Apple crumble!
In order to get the full fruit experience, I’m going to try them both raw, and as part of another dish. Eating an apple by itself is one thing, but how about doing something a little more creative – you know, like covering it in cinnamon?
Enter the apple crumble, which is so easy it’s basically the only thing I remember learning to cook at school.
First, measure out 100g self-raising flour, 50g Demarara sugar, 50g butter and a tin of apples. Then lay it all out and take some overhead photography like a True Lifestyle Blogger.
Then put the flour and butter into a bowl, and rub it together with your fingers until it starts to look like breadcrumbs. If you ever cooked as a child, you will remember this as The Fun Bit.
Then stir in the sugar with half a table spoon of cinnamon (you forgot to photograph this with all of your other ingredients earlier).
Empty the apples into a saucepan with 15-20g of light brown sugar, and cook lightly for a minute or two, making sure that the sugar is all mixed in. Then, empty the contents into your chosen receptacle, breaking up any particularly large chunks. Sprinkle your breadcrumb mixture on top and press it in lightly.
Then put it the oven at 200C for 40 minutes, and consume with lots of vanilla ice cream.
It’s much, much better than eating apples by themselves.
SUCCESS RATE: 7.5/10.