Flavor Wars

Every 90 days I send a check to a local organic farming co-op. In return, they send me a weekly box of fruits and veggies to a nearby pickup spot.

Like with every choice, there are benefits and burdens. I get amazingly fresh, seasonal produce from a trusted source and I don't have to go to the grocery store and stand trying to imagine what I'll feel like eating at some point in the future.

The downside? As any gardner can tell you - getting pounded by seasonality.

Eating a delightful white peach for breakfast, I was contemplating what on earth to do with this week's thirty tomatoes.

Savoring the tender and uniquely gentle sweetness of the flesh, momentarily wishing for a year round peach season, I wondered why don't all fruits and vegetables taste the same?

Wouldn't it just be easier?

Or maybe if there were only two or three flavors of each?

In the interests of efficiency and the breakneck pace of modern life, you'd be able to more easily pick one and move on.

Maybe divide the flavors up by time of day? Even name them "morning flavored fruit", "evening flavored vegetable".

Or use technology to develop a "universal flavor delivery system" which would download fruit or vegetable applications to an edible soy-based cube of water and fiber?

Was all that diversity really necessary?

The thought occurred to me, would we then need to agree on which flavors would prevail?

Of course, any time monkeys try to agree, there is lots of drama and conflict.

Maybe even flavor wars.

The middle class "potato-ists" versus the immigrant "cabbage-ists" debating on television.

Round the clock programming about the merits of the asparagus platform as weighed against the bitter benefits of endive.

Campaigns for celery root and parsnips might only appear on late night cable or youtube postings.

The entire squash family might band together for a documentary about its ethnic roots, historical importance, mild character and broad applications.

Would the Federation of Fans of Watermelon outspend The National Coalition in Favor of Peach?

Disclaimer - I would actively campaign for all things basil, Meyer lemon and pistachio. That said, I would also be quietly supportive of arugula, artichoke and chard.

If we did agree on limiting flavors, would we invade other countries to guarantee their rights to raspberry?

Identify hostile flavor hosts where taste insurrectionists where plotting an overthrow of our national flavor agenda?

Prop up governments in order to secure our supplies of cocoanut?

We can all relax on that one. Cocoanut would never make the national agenda, since it not a universally adored and associated with too much tropical liberalism for the majority identified with the centrist appeal of apple.

A black market might instantly spring up offering illegal flavors. Entrepreneurs around the world would surely find ways to supply the lovers of contraband lychee and persimmon.

Guaranteed some clever monkeys would find a way to capture the blueberry flavor and make a killing.

With such a small basis of choice, would financial markets be vulnerable to severe swings and easily manipulated with rumor and innuendos, insider trading and political graft?

In the ensuing economic chaos, the panicking public might demand government action.

The Institute for the Study of the Regulation of Flavor (ISRF) might publish a series of white papers and condemn the open manipulation of the flavor markets.

Liberal eggplant defenders would wage epic battles of rhetoric with conservative corn pundits.

A senator from a state with no native flavors - Utah? North Dakota? - would propose legislation for the return of choice.

A new candidate might run for president on the platform of diversity.

Based on the populist preference for sweet peas and proposing that the freedom to choose flavors could be inferred from the Constitution, she might lead a movement to unseat the big three flavors - thereby opening the flood gates for all flavors to be reinstated.

Making the country safe for diversity once again.

I finished my peach and thought about tomato sauce.

Maybe all those choices are a good thing.

Maybe diversity just is and we don't have to agree about it.

Maybe all we have to do is appreciate that not everyone likes beets?

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