Eat This, Why Don’t You?

How’s this for an edible arrangement?

Useful, edible, and ornamental...
Useful, edible, and ornamental...

I received several emails and comments on my blog post about Edible Arrangements, which just goes to show there are people out there just as bewildered as I am at some of the things we do to food. One person took me literally and sent me an email telling me exactly who does order these things: “Advertising agencies,” she wrote. And I thought? Really? What do these agencies advertise? I have a lot of friends in advertising and they have some of the most exacting, progressive taste of anyone I know. My niece told me she has a friend who loves these fruity scultptures. Still, the comment that struck me as particularly interesting was one where the commenter defended the arrangements—and he actually worked there. “… the store is not what you expect at all,” he wrote. And then proceeded to describe an operation that is very much what I would expect. “They have special machines to cut the fruit and everyone “touching” [his quotes] the fruit is using gloves and wearing hairnets. They took cleanliness very seriously, and the fruit was very fresh and made that day.”

Um…. made? Fruit is not made. Fruit, I should remind him, is grown. A pesky slip, I know, but I believe it is a telling one. I guess I should be reassured to know that the place is serious about cleanliness, but doesn’t this sound remarkably like the description of a room in which surgery is performed? Or a factory? Can we please pause for a moment to remember that this is food? Fruit no less, a word so laden with the manifestation of possibility and promise that it has been coopted by the English language to mean such? As in: the fruits of our labor. A fruitful investigation.  That it comes from the ground? And that it is actually more beautiful in its natural, God-given form than carved into something it is not? Have you ever seen a bowl of tangerines? A bunch of grapes? A platter of figs… They are so pretty, they’re like a miracle. This and I don’t even believe in God. But I don’t need to go there, do I?

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