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Many of the fruits coming into the market today don’t taste like they used to. They don’t have the same sweetness, tartness, and juiciness that I remember them having. I recall biting into the first ripe peach of summer, warm from the sun, my mouth overcome by a full burst of sweet flavor, then having to wipe the dribbles off my chin with the back of my hand. That is what fruit should do. Sweep me away in taste bud delight.

I offer up to you an example. Cherries. Cherries coming into the market are beautiful, big, dark shiny red, blemish free. In a word perfect. Perfect that is until I pop one into my mouth. When I bite down, I don’t get the rush of flavor. Nay, I do not! This cherry tastes flat, dull, not what one would expect from appearances.

It’s a sign of the times when flavor is not as important as looks. Cosmetic perfection is beating out substance. Outer skin is more important than the inner flesh. We are a culture of looks.

The sugar content has fallen low on the list of desirable characteristics of marketable fruit. Size, color, and shelf life are right up at the top. Americans may think “flavor” but they are buying appearances. Appearances can be deceiving. Consumer buying sets the trend for fruit offerings at the supermarket. Many are being picked before ripeness to hurry to market for the quick buck. Varieties are being cultivated for appearances and shelf life. Flavor is playing second fiddle.

I want what’s beneath the skin. I want that burst of flavor from yesteryear. I want taste and substance! Time to bring excitement back to my taste buds and find the street side grove stands to pick the fruit straight from the tree. Either that or it’s time for the consumer to start sending a loud message to growers and supermarket buyers alike.

GIVE ME FLAVOR!

(For more info check out the LA Times, June 13, 2001, “Tasteless Cherries, Big Bucks” by Mark Arax)


She intended herself to be looked at, eye candy. She walked around the corner; head held high with a “go ahead, I dare you to say something” smile. She appeared very cocky and sure of herself. She was beautiful, no doubt.

Pale yellow hair hung about her shoulders like a curly mane, wild. Hot pink lips curved into that daring smile. She walked with a “come hither” sway to her hips. Black, strappy stiletto heels, with bright hot pink toenails peeking out, cradled her feet. She had smooth, tan, well toned, flawless shaped legs that went from here to there. She was ALL legs.

A black lace thong showed through the sheer black baby doll lingerie that hung to just below her cheeks. Satin hot pink triangles that matched her toes and lips covered her breasts, barely. The gold ring in her navel showed dully through the veil that she wore. A perfectly sculpted body offered up for public display. Temptation on heels.

She swished by on the arm of her boyfriend who I can only recall as dark haired. He was a shadow only. She was the flame. As she entered the building, I was able to tear my eyes away. I turned to see that everyone within sight was still watching the door, the males with undisguised lust. I’m sure she knew it too.

Then she was forgotten, out of sight, out of mind like an extinguished sparkle on glass that had just lost it’s source of light. There was nothing there that I felt worth pursuing, worth peeling back the layers for.

I still had the rest of those cherries sitting on my plate in front of me, deceptively beautiful, disappointingly without flavor.

All flash and no substance.

Looking for some intense cherry flavor?

Might I suggest finding some sour cherries. Now, don't pucker up on me. Sour cherries are very good, they have a lot more flavor then your traditional black cherries. Now, they are not something you would want to eat raw. You are counting on them for flavor not for sweetness. They are best used in cooking where you will be adding sweeteners.

The best place for sour cherries would be to find an orchard where you can pick your own. Failing that, fresh sour cherries from the market are pretty decent if you can find them. They are usually in good shape because they don't fall into the cosmetic perfection trap as the black cherries do. Even canned isn't to bad.

You could make a nice cherry pie, or a delicious cherry coffee cake. Or you could go all out and make a German Black Forest Cake with sour cherry filling and Kirschwasser soaked layers. That will surely give you your cherry fix.

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