Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Apples are yummy.

Mmm. Apples.

But do you want to smell like an apple? No, I think that's where I draw the line.

There may be no more distinctive texture in all of food than that of the apple. I have a problem though. Go get an apple. Bite into its succulence. Now smell. Smell anything? No, I didn't think so.

UPDATE: My mother informs me that apples have been bred to be odorless in the process of breeding for looks. I knew many people were upset about the loss of flowers' smell. I suppose, then, that Be Delicious is a cologne of nostalgia.


Blogger chuck b. said...

Your mom is right. The same thing's been going on all over horticulture for several years now. Color is where it's at w/ regard to breeding new cultivars. Where that happens, fragrance tends to fall by the wayside. (is that a bad metaphor? fragrance falling by the wayside? well, whatever.)

It's not intuitively obvious (to me) why this should be. And I don't think it's been intentional (to breed out smell). Fragrance molecules are quite different than color molecules. Why should beefing up the synthesis of one, downregulate synthesis of the other? I don't know if anyone knows.

More and more nowadays I see articles in garden literature expressing a desire to see the pendulum swing back toward fragrance.

12:37 AM  
Blogger Christopher Althouse said...

I can see why they breed for aesthetics over fragrance. I'm not gonna pick something up in the store and smell it in the first place if it's not pretty.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Ann Althouse said...

This is what perfume is for, though. Perfumers take things that may not look pretty and use them because of their smell. And they put them in pretty bottles so we will pick them up and smell them. They're performing an important service.

Maybe you should get some of that apple cologne and spray it on your wrists right before eating an apple. Then, finally, the pretty apple could actually be yummy.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-one small bite for mankind

9:10 AM  
Blogger Christopher Althouse said...

Mom: I meant the apples, not the cologne. The cologne doesn't need to be pretty. I was really just saying that looks sell better than smell when it comes to fruit.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Ann Althouse said...

I know. What I mean was that some ugly things might smell good, but, as you say, we'd avoid sniffing them, because that's how we are. But perfume can be made from ugly stuff (like a civet cat's anal gland). And that's just a nice thing about perfume that makes more beauty accessible.

6:40 PM  

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