02 October 2013


As you probably heard, I'm studying Snow White right now. Yes, her of the apple. But I also live in Apple Country; I drive past apple (and/or peach and/or cherry) orchards every time I leave my house.

Apples are great. I think if I were to move to a tropical climate, apart from dying of heat, I'd really miss apples. For Northern Europeans, they're the quintessential fruit. You know how in the Garden of Eden Eve tempted Adam with an apple? Actually, she didn't. We just think she did, courtesy of all those Northern European artists who heard the story that the Fall of Mankind came about through a piece of fruit, and automatically depicted the first thing that came to mind - an apple. For all we know, the Garden-of-Eden fruit was a banana. But somehow it doesn't quite seem right, you know? Apples are so tempting, so lovely, and round, and shiny (if you buff them on your shirt before eating them) - a banana hasn't quite got the same effect.

That's what got Snow White, too. She fell for all the finery the witch foisted off on her - the lace that was tied too tightly, the poisoned comb in her hair - but the dwarfs figured that out and saved her bacon by unlacing and uncombing her. But when it came to food, they struck out. I'm sure there is some deep symbolism in that, or some sly dig at how important food is to women (well, it is, there's nothing wrong with that. But that's another topic.), and that if you give in to the temptation of food you've had it, lady. Presumably the witch took the bitten apple away with her, or the dwarfs would have seen it lying around and figured out that it was food that did in Snow White, and performed the Heimlich manoeuvre or pumped her stomach or something. Well, it doesn't rightly matter, because once the apple popped back out of her mouth, she was fine.

Apples are very symbolic, of all kinds of things. Martin Luther said that to teach children, one ought to have a switch in one hand, an apple in the other. I believe the emphasis here was on the apple, as in his day it was taken for granted that children needed to be beaten in order to learn anything; he was saying that there needs to be positive reinforcement, not just negative - and the apple was the emblem of sweet treats, a suitable reward for a good child (Mars bars hadn't been invented yet).

You've got to wonder what kind of apple Snow White's was. It says it was red on one side, and white on the other (with only the red side poisoned). I can't think of an apple variety that looks like that. My favourite kind (the one in the picture) is a Mackintosh, which is red and green, not red and white. It's good for everything - fresh eating, pie, juice, drying, apple sauce - plus is keeps well (for months, if it's stored right). And it's rarely poisoned by wicked witches. Now, I wonder what the Mac Apple computer has to do with the fruit. It certainly isn't that they're both the cheapest variety on the market.

Life, the Universe, and Apples. I have a feeling Snow White didn't serve apple pie at her wedding.


  1. Love Macs (the fruit - I am fond of my laptop, but not enough to love it). I think they make the best pies and applesauce, though I know many people who insist they aren't the proper type of apple for that. Pooh, I say. Proper or not, the flavor and texture is always perfect!

    1. Pooh indeed. I can see where people might prefer a pie apple that keeps its shape better, but applesauce? They're perfect for that. They also make great apple jelly; I love the pink tinge you get from the peels.