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02/27/2004 Archived Entry: "Apricot decadence"

I'VE JUST BEEN OUT IN A HOT TUB, drinking a glass of wine, and eating California dried apricots. In the middle of the day. If you think this sounds like sheer decadence, you're right. But the most decadent part about it is the apricots.

If you ever want to get on my good side, order me a bulk pack of California dried apricots. (NOT the ones with the chocolate dipping. Eeew, what an awful thought.)

No, no. Now don't really rush out and do it. I'd be embarrassed. But I'd also consider running off to Tahiti with you if you'd keep those apricots coming. The rest of the world can have its nectar and ambrosia. All my women friends can have their Godiva chocolates. You can have your fine, 100-year-old Bordeaus. Just give me those apricots.

NOT the Turkish or Mediteranean apricots you see everywhere, now. Those are okay. Nothing wrong with them. They're the white bread of apricots, uniform, plump and pulpy, slightly sweet, totally routine, and 100 percent unchallenging. The only way they're interesting is when they're glazed with honey. (If you ordered me some glace' Turkish apricots, I'd be grateful. But I wouldn't run off to Tahiti with you.) (And yeah, I know it says those are Australian apricots. They're the Turkish kind, though.)

A good California apricot, as opposed to its predictable, palid cousin, looks shrunken and more dry ("pygmy ears" an old friend always called them). Yet it's a more vibrant, life-filled orange. And when you bite into one, the taste is so tartly sweet that you sometimes just pucker and shudder. You're never quite sure what you're getting when you bite one. They can be so sour that saliva quirts out your ears ... or so sweet and smooth they're like good sex. Only not as messy.

But ... here's the catch. You can find the Turkish apricots on every street corner. They go for maybe $3.25 ... $2.99 for half a pound ... way less if you find them at Wal-Mart or someplace. But California apricots are getting more and more rare. They've just taken a jump hereabouts from $3.59 for 6 oz. to $4.25 for 6 oz. And I can tell you seriously this is cutting into my apricot habit.

They were an insane indulgence before. But now they're beginning to make a heroin habit look budget-minded. Guess I'd better start looking at those bulk packs, myself.

But I don't get it. I mean, Turkey ... well, it's way, way, way over there. They have to practically ship those cheap apricots by space ship to get 'em over here. And California ... well, there it is. Right there. Just look at it. Sitting right there on the borders of America. And it's not exactly lacking in ag lands. So whassup with those prices, anyway? Can any of you economists or orchardists out there explain this to a poor girl who can live without diamonds, fast cars, evenings on the town, or cruises in the Caribbean -- but who'd consider selling her ...well, very valuable things ... to stay in California dried apricots?

Posted by Claire @ 07:08 PM CST

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