Saturday, October 2, 2010

There’s a country song in here somewhere

I had a notion I was going to get my heart broken when I walked up to him in the lunchroom.

“John,” I said, twirling the kitchen knife in my hand, “would you help me out with something?”

John looked up and smiled—not at the knife, but at the two large apples I held in my other hand. When John’s not at work, he’s an epicure with a well-trained palate. He was exactly the person I needed. I sat down, arranging the objects on the table between us. “We’re going to do a little experiment,” I said.

“As you know, this is the second year of SweeTango—the controversial new apple from the University of Minnesota. It’s touted as even better than my beloved favorite, Honeycrisp.”

“I have here two apples,” I continued. “One is a Honeycrisp. One is a SweeTango. We’re going to try them, talk about what we taste, and decide which one is better. Then I’ll tell you which is which. I’m too biased to be objective, so I’m interested to hear your opinion.”

John was in.

We started by looking at the apples. They were lovely, their rosy red skins striated with yellowish green. The only way to tell them apart was by size. “Not much difference,” John said.

I cut each in half. One of the apples had yellower flesh than the other. The second apple had a hurt spot in the center, but we dismissed that as unimportant. Texture appeared otherwise identical.

We tasted the first apple. Good crunch! We both found it very sweet, but it also had a contrasting acidic kick. “Nice tang,” John remarked. The flavors were high, sharp, and bright, with a cidery undertone. John gave his approval, and I agreed.

On to apple number two. Upon biting in, John exclaimed, “This has a grapey flavor to it.” He was right. Though sweet and equally crunchy as the first apple, the flavor was more muted and rounded. It was a softer, fruitier taste. Another very good apple, we concluded.

“So,” I asked, “which is better?”

John guessed that the first apple was Honeycrisp and declared that he liked it better.

I smiled sadly. I agreed with John’s judgment. The bright, tangy apple was indeed the tastier of the two. But he guessed wrong: it wasn’t the Honeycrisp.

Cue the music:

Dang you, SweeTango, I hate you
Like I hate the sun in the sky.
I hate you so bad, I hate your mom and your dad,
I hate you so much I could cry.

Dang you, SweeTango, I hate you
Like I hate the stars up above.
They don’t have to flaunt you, I hate you ‘cause I want you
Even more than the one that I love.


  1. Dang! I was rooting for the Honeycrisp, too! Usually Zestar! apples are my fave, but Honeycrisp beat them bad this year.

  2. I dunno. I tried both recently too, and still preferred the Honeycrisp. But maybe I'm prejudiced.

  3. Liz, the U of M set out to produce an apple with the crunch of Honeycrisp and the flavor of Zestar! So theoretically, SweeTango is supposed to spank them both. (I just wish they would quit with the cute spelling and punctuation.)

    Amy, I'm DEFINITELY prejudiced and Honeycrisp still has my heart.


Thanks for your comments - nothing scatological, please. If you wouldn't bring it in the kitchen, please don't say it here.