Welcome to The Study where I will take an aspect of the latest Just the Facts and delve in to it in a deep and meaningful way in order to bring further clarity to that aspect.
I would hope that you leave here having confusion and uncertainty wiped from your brain and carry instead a full understanding of what exactly is going on here.
Today I thought I’d do a study piece on apples. We won’t be doing any pithy puns either, that is a principle at the core of The Study.
Apples have been with us a long time. In fact, although they were not mentioned specifically, it has long been assumed by most that it was an apple that was the forbidden fruit in Genesis, although that has since been proved to be Phil Collins and he was just small and fruity and should have been forbidden.
In fact, the only real connection between apples and Phil Collins is when you shake a ripe apple tree you can hear a random thumping noise a lot like his drumming.
After providing humankind with original sin, apples quietly got on with multiplying into many different varieties themselves, with many different colour, size and taste variations. They also provided a handy lunchbox sized snack as well as providing a nutritious and well balanced source of target practice for keen shots when placed on a family member’s head.
Apples of course also have a long history of being very useful in keeping the doctor away, probably because they are quite hard when they are small and therefore made ideal slingshot ammunition before there were guns and millions of self care blogs.
It was about the time when people noticed that apples contained quite a lot of tasty juice that their thoughts turned to making some sort of alcoholic drink with them, as invariably throughout history humans have done with anything remotely juicy but not necessarily fruity.
Mechanisms were invented and built to squeeze the bejesus out of the apples to collect said juice and, once collected, the remaining dry pulp was fed to the pigs, who had previously eaten juicy windfall apples themselves but were apparently now only on dry food.
Early ciders, served in great quantities at events like harvest festivals, finishing haymaking and just coming home from a days work, were extremely alcoholic and described as ‘like rocket fuel‘ which was handy as rockets weren’t going to be invented until hundreds of years later so you could quite happily drink loads of it until then.
It was also traditional for ‘proper’ cider to contain some characterful remnants of its manufacturing for authenticity – like pips, small bits of straw, upside down woodlice being ridden like rafts by ants and very flat parts of rats – compared to the bubbly, clean and responsibly weaker fare that the landlords of taverns provided.
Famously we didn’t have any gravity until Sir Isaac Newton got hit on the head with an apple, so it was lucky he was sat under an apple tree lazily reading his latest copy of ‘The Physicist’ magazine at the time and not overseeing the crane that was installing his piano. His housekeeper was not so lucky, although she did manage to invent an agreeable new musical chord that was in the key of B flat before she died.
Different varieties of apples provide the fillings for pies. Quite a lot of apple pies are not in fact eaten by the household it was made for as apparently they get stolen while cooling on a windowsill near an open window, invariably by a passing escaped convict but sometimes by a cartoon chicken.
Apples do not seem to have changed much since appearing in the first possible garden but in modern times supermarkets have gradually conditioned humans to believe that they should all look the same, be about the same size as each other and taste of nothing in particular. In fact it is only the faint evolutionary shadow of the brain wiring system that exists in city-dwelling humans which tells their eyes and mouth that there should be an ‘apply taste’ that provides any ‘flavour’ experience at all.
In the English countryside though, orchards of cider apple bearing trees that were planted BS (Before Supermarkets) are still providing unexpected and ugly contortions in both the apples and in the faces of small children hopping over walls to ‘scrump’ them and are still made into authentic, straw, woodlice and flat rat bearing ciders.
Do come back next week. There’ll be something here I’m sure.