Thursday, March 15, 2007

What Color Is Your Pair of Fruit?

Today I dissed my friend Stacey's choice of lunch item. She was standing innocently by the microwave, just making conversation, commenting that she'd never tried this particular brand of pre-fab food before. So I looked and noticed that her particular selection of pre-fab food had been titled "Orange Beef." So I said, out loud, "That sounds gross."

It was a purely visceral response, and she received it with great aplomb, but a comment such as mine is only the beginning of a conversation--never should it be the ending. Together we figured out that what she was interpreting as a fruit, I was interpreting as a color. I, of course, quickly agreed that orange as a flavor is delicious, and presumably would taste good glazed over a nice chunk of pre-fab beef. Stacey also quickly allowed that she would eat orange-colored beef only under duress.

I should also say that I'm not really in any position to judge anyone's eating habits. While I was mocking Stacey's entree, I was heating up an ad-hoc combination of my Monday night's dinner (beef and spiral pasta with an onion-based sauce) with my Wednesday lunch leftovers (chicken and shells in a pesto sauce). My meal was an odd mix of earth tones--green chicken, brown beef, and a mix of tan and green noodles of varying shapes. What can I say--I was hungry.

Anyway, that's not my point. My point is that there's an odd history of blurred boundaries between fruits and vegetables, on the one hand, and colors on the other. My brother has luggage that isn't blue or purple but eggplant. My sister-in-law introduced me to the joy and frustration of blueberry picking, and she has a blackberry bush in her backyard. Banana-flavored candy doesn't taste like bananas; it tastes like crap. It's only called banana-flavored because it's yellow.

So now I'm intrigued by how fruits and vegetables and colors get commingled in culture, so let me cherry-pick your grey matter a bit:

What are your favorite cultural artifacts, mental images and cliched metaphors that employ fruits, vegetables and colors?

14 comments:

Elaine M. Zimmerman said...

Homer: "Wanna donut?"
Lisa: "Don't you have any fruit?"
Homer: "This one has purple stuff inside, purple is a fruit."


I think he also said at one point,

"Ah.... blue." but I can't confirm this.

David A. Zimmerman said...

My sister is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Blue RAZZ Berry Blow Pop

Web said...

dingleberry (it's not really a berry of any kind)

Jenn said...

Why are supposedly-raspberry-flavoured things so often blue? Is that because strawberry and cherry have commandeered the reds? And grape has monopolised the purples?

May I further commend you on your banana-flavoured-candy insight. I have thought this for years. Banana should never be a flavour for anything except bananas (and banana bread, if it's homemade), and yellow should only mean lemon.

Web said...

Lest we forget Fruity Pebbles, the cereal with a delicious fruity taste.

Pete Juvinall said...

My exception to your banannas are crap rule would be bananna flavored Runts; you know the platic-ey looking candy that just is hardened sugar. I really, really like them bananna flavored ones :).

My rule has been anything with 'berry' attached to it and is the color blue is inheritently something to stay away from. Nothing says processed like blue drink...

Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn said...

Dyes and artificial flavors seem to be the subject of such persecution lately... maybe they need to muster their resources and hire a PR firm for better representation in the media.

Save Red Dye Number 5!

It has a ring to it...

;)

Adrianna said...

Having just finished some "Blackberry Harvest" yogurt, I feel fully equipped to respond to the colorful if fruity discussion at hand. First, as has previously been discussed in other circles, let me say once again that "low-hanging fruit" as an expression should be stricken from the record. And last, don't forget Fruit Loops!

David A. Zimmerman said...

The low-hanging fruit loops are the ones that change the color of the milk. And as long as we're nominating cliches to abandon, let me cast my ballot for "at the end of the day." Give it a rest.

Adrianna said...

Hear, hear! I second that. And I also nominate (to be similarly stricken) "circle back" and "get some traction on that." Quit it with the pseudo-transportation metaphors!

Web said...

...and from the General Mills web site:

"There is a reason the Trix rabbit is always trying to get his hands on great-tasting Trix cereal. He just can’t resist those fruity flavors – raspberry red, lemony lemon, orangey orange, wildberry blue, grapity purple and watermelon."

What? No fancy name for watermelon?

David A. Zimmerman said...

Hilarious.

"Seedy watermelon"? "Watery watermelon"? "Hopelessly unsatisfying watermelon"?