Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The pet peeves column only the people in Dallas can see

Seeing as how it's been nearly three months since I last posted here, I figured it was time to poo or get off the pot, so I came up with the idea of writing posts about little things that bug me. If this works out, I'll keep doing them every so often when I think of something. So, without further ado...

When I was in grade school the school lunchroom they would sometimes sell orange juice. I always loved orange juice growing up, so I'd buy that whenever they had it instead of milk, just for something different. I remember that there was always one kid who complained every time they had orange juice because he couldn't stand the pulp. He was a pretty big kid so I never asked him why (I didn't want to get him angry, I guess), but I always figured that he was just a weirdo.

Flash forward to a few years ago. I'm at my local grocery store and I have a craving for orange juice. I head over to the dairy case and I notice that there are all sorts of orange juice- regular, "heart-smart," calcium-fortified, and you guessed it- pulp-free. Which either means that big grade-school pulp-hater guy grew up to be the president of Tropicana or there are lots of pulp haters in the world. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Honestly, I just don't get it. What's wrong with pulp, folks? You like oranges, right? Well, oranges are full of pulp. So why not drink orange juice with pulp too? Seems a logical extension to me. But pulp-free orange juice seems to sell almost as quickly as regular orange juice, if not faster, since when I went to the grocery store this evening the pulp-free row of the dairy case was actually more empty than the normal-level-of-pulp row.

I fear that it's only a matter of time until scientists genetically-engineer an orange with no pulp. I know it sounds odd now (I imagine the orange slices will be nothing more than little baggies full of juice) but corporate science being the way it is, they'll do their damnedest to appeal to the pulp haters of the world. "Love oranges? Hate vitamin C? Introducing Sunkist pulp-free oranges. Loaded with all the vitamins, minerals, and great taste of regular oranges, but without all that pulp you hate." And then maybe they'll throw in a dig at pulp saying that the Taliban loves it or something.

But for me, orange juice without pulp just isn't orange juice. Try fresh-squeezing yourself some. What are the chances you'll get a batch without any pulp? Oh... wait, let's see here... well, whaddya know, zero. One time I stopped at a convenience store late at night with a raging OJ craving, and all they had in stock was pulp-free. So I bought it, opened it up in the car, and took a drink. I swear the first thought I had was "who put Tang in my OJ?" That's what it tasted like to me, an orange drink- sweet, sort of orange-y, but lacking in the body and presence that pulp provides.

Recently, my salvation has arrived in dairy cases. That's right- orange juice with LOTS OF PULP. More than just answering the question "where does pulp go after the wussy fake-tasting OJ the kids like has had its soul sucked from the mix?" extra-pulp OJ just tastes so much better to me than that de-pulped concoction. This is a drink that puts on no airs and harbors no illusions- when you take a drink, you know exactly where it's been, and it's like the orange is right there, giving you the gift of its goodness. Or something like that. I first tried LOTS OF PULP OJ when I had a pretty bad cold- sneezing and coughing and the like- and just drinking it made me feel better. On top of that, when I went into a coughing fit later in the day, little bits of pulp came up with the lung-butter I coughed up into my mouth, and it tasted a lot better than it would had I been drinking juice without pulp. All right, so that was kind of gross, but it really was a cool moment, in a weird way.

So maybe I can't stop the wussification of the American consumer (why can't they just drink apple juice, fer chrissakes?), but I can do my part to show my love for old-school pulpy OJ. Imagine an orange juice that was 95% pulp, with just enough juice to give the pulp flavor, and it would come out of the carton slowly, like cream soup or ketchup. I know I can't be the only pulp fan out there. So I ask you- pulp, yea or nay?


Champaign American said...

I like pulp

Paul C. said...

Yeah, good on ya dude. Maybe pulp has the added bonus of making OJ drinkers better-looking. Which would explain why we both like it.