Fruit has a special place in the human collective unconscious; it represents temptation, sweetness, and even joy. It’s power is such that even religions use and have used it metaphorically….the apple as symbolic of the Devil’s temptation of Adam and Eve, the lavishing of fruit on various deities by Hindus and others, etc.

An abundance of fruit may also be linked to the sense of “plenty” in that it coincides with a good growing season and friendly climatic conditions. Who know? Nevertheless, fruit is deeply entrenched in the human psyche as a source of pleasure and good nutrition.

I unabashedly see myself as a “gourmand” in the French sense: A translation brilliantly elaborated by my friend Stephane Gabart in one of his posts on his amazing site, My French Heaven:

In French, a word like “gourmandise” can only be translated in English as “gluttony” or “greed”. Almost always regarded as a sin with the image of a large person in mind. For the French, it actually is a quality.Then again, although we are mostly a Catholic people, we regard most sins as wonderful qualities… For instance we say that you should never trust a thin chef (or a thin person for that matter :0)

Someone who is “gourmand” is thought of as jovial, as someone who enjoys life, a “bon vivant”. He or she is not necessarily a person who is unhealthy looking and eats too much. He or she simply loves food; even the idea of it. It has more to do with the idea of kids in a candy store with their eyes wide open than the idea of a big slob feasting. To be “gourmand” has almost become a philosophy for those who see life as a banquet…

As a gourmand in the aforementioned definition, there is nothing I lament more than the utter destruction of the taste of fruit in North America. I used to absolutely love fruit and would crave it for breakfast or as a preferred snack at any time of day. But with the exception of the occasional apple, my daily fruit consumption has dwindled. The reason is simple: Fruit here tastes like shit! Or actually, I should correct that: Shit actually tastes like something….fruit doesn’t.

Horrific monster strawberries from California that “taste” like raw potatoes. Melons hard as rocks and inedible. Sour blackberries with no hint of sweetness. Oranges with dried out and fibrous insides, watermelons without pits and also without sweetness, and don’t get me started on the peaches! Eating fruit is an overall disgusting experience. Eating fruit in hotels and buffets is even worse….fruit salads heavily laden with sulphites to keep them looking fresh and appealing…until you take that first bite.

And it’s not even a seasonal thing. It used to be, but no longer. Local fruit in Summer did taste pretty good, even up to a few years ago. Not any more. Local strawberries and peaches in season taste just like the imported shit. Doubtless, the same techniques of breeding for appearance and transportability have become part of everyone’s technological armamentarium.

You don’t realize how bad it has become until you go to a country whose population has a high quality standard and would stage an open revolt if you tried to serve them the garbage we are sold here: France, Italy, and Greece among others.

I lament the death of good fruit. It is a barometer of the general decline in our food supply and runs parallel to the obesity epidemic, as we try to find satisfaction in manufactured sweetness from the industrial complex.