//Written by Joy Cho//
Apples are a ubiquitous fruit in the dining hall. You see them everywhere, and it’s easy to overlook them as anything more than just decorations on the side. Towards the beginning of this school year, I used to grab apples on a fairly regular basis, treating them as a stand-in dessert (this is before I discovered the beauty of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pints at Bart Mart). After a while, though, apples got pretty boring, so I stopped picking them up on the way out.
Recently, I’ve been eating more apples (my attempt to be more “healthy,” which quickly fails). They’re like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get. Some are fresh and crispy, others are soft and sweet, and still others are just bland and overly tart. Every time I spend a whole minute by the fruit basket examining different apples, I hope for a ridiculously sweet one that has just the right amount of give. I’ve been fairly lucky with my picks—just a couple days ago, I got both a really crispy and really sweet one. An exceptionally good apple is surprisingly satisfying.
There was a time last year when all I ate for lunch was an apple. After coming back from our senior class trip in the spring, I began to have sporadic stomach pains. Not just the faint discomfort after eating something weird, but the simultaneously dull and extremely sharp pain that made me want to stop whatever I was doing and hunch over. The pain would come over me after I ate the most random things, like a sandwich or a handful of walnuts.
It got to the point where I was scared to eat much of anything, and especially at school, where I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate if the stomach pain hit. Weirdly, though, I would consistently feel fine after eating an apple—even at lunch, when I was most worried about my stomach. Every morning, my mom or my grandma would cut me an apple for me to take to school. I would look forward to lunch, when I could savor that apple and enjoy it without feeling anxious about an onslaught of stomach pain.
Eventually, I was able to eat other things, and by the summer, the pain was largely gone. It’s a bit weird thinking back to that time now. Today, I think of apples as a food I should eat; rarely do I genuinely crave one. But a year ago, I remember being so thankful for the apples I had for lunch every day, and really enjoying them. It took just a bite of a juicy, sweet apple from the dining hall to remind me of last year, and more importantly how thankful I am that I can eat anything at any time. I now have freedom in what I can eat and enjoy on a daily basis.
“An Apple a Day” is the fourth entry for Joy’s column “In Search of Lost Food.” Check for new articles for this column on Wednesdays.