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Late 2019 will see the biggest apple launch of our lifetimes. 22 years in the making, ripening on millions of trees into picture-perfect redness, here comes the WA38, more snazzily known as the Cosmic Crisp. The name was the result of a year of focus groups, taste tests and word associations - a far cry from when apples were named after whichever end of a cat they resembled.
This episode, the latest in the Allusionist Food Season is a collaboration with The Sporkful podcast, where we have released companion episodes about apples: over here on the Allusionist, we find out about the naming of apples; and in the Sporkful episode ‘A New Apple Is Born’ we get into the particulars of how new apples are begotten.
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Big read about the Cosmic Crisp. “When he stood up at the annual meeting of the state horticultural association and announced that Red Delicious was an obsolete apple, the crowd booed.” YEAH, THE TRUTH HURTS.
The word ‘apple’ just meant a fruit for a long time. Cucumbers were eorþæppla - ‘earth apples’.
There are so many apples!!
The poignant story of the name of the Pam’s Delight apple.
Joanna Crosby’s 9 strange facts about the history of apples.
Read the full report from the 1883 National Apple Congress. Well, maybe not the full thing. Skim-read it.
“Jazz™ is the loudest apple on record. Feel the Bite! Every chomp brings satisfaction to the ears.” The Jazz apple story has no chill.
You’ve heard Dan Pashman on the Allusionist before, in the brunch episode, which spawned my interest in portmanteau words! Also in that episode, I settled the oft-asked question of whether orange the fruit or orange the colour was first.
As well as the applesode, Dan recommends you Allusionistes listen to the Sporkful episodes ‘Is Sandwich Sexism Real?’ and, if you were into the cookbook-writing episode a few Allusionists back, ‘When Will Indian Food Be American?’
There’s some thematic overlap in this episode with the recent F’ood episode, about alternafood names, as well as the previous Nancy Friedman appearance in the Brand It episode, which goes into detail about how products are named.
The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/apples.
YOUR RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
Kate Evans is Associate Professor at Washington State University's Pome Fruit Breeding Program.
Kathryn Grandy is Director of Marketing + Operations at Proprietary Variety Management.
Joanna Crosby is a food historian specialising in the economic and social history of the apple and the orchard during the late 19th century.
Thanks to The Sporkful production team: Harry Huggins, Anne Saini, Ngofeen Mputubwele and John DeLore. Also thanks to Dan Charles from NPR, who you can hear on the Sporkful applesode, and who has been reporting on the Cosmic Crisp.
This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Martin Austwick makes the music that you hear in every episode. Download his songs at palebirdmusic.com and listen to his new podcast Year of the Bird about the songs he writes.
The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.
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