Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Prunella Vulgaris

As I was dishing out my Dad's breakfast serving of five (not four, not six) stewed prunes this morning, I decided that whoever is in charge of prune public relations must really have a hard job. I just don't think it's humanly possible to come up with an advertising campaign that could possible make eating something that looks so much like a round little poop ball appetizing, let alone more desireable than, say a banana or an apple or a kiwi (which in my opinion could use a haircut and a shave). I doubt that even dancing, Motown-impersonating, prunes could convince me with a hip, toe-tapping tune to taste this shriveled up fruit.

I'm pretty sure concentrating on the packaging, would also have little effect on my decision to eat such an ugly thing. Easy open, zip-lock containers or citrus flavoring aren't going to change my first impression of something that looks like it came out of the toilet.

I suspect there are prune lovers all over the world who might disagree with me. But let's face it, prunes are brown, and brown is just not a color that screams, "eat me." Unless, of course, it's the deep, rich, dark brown of Ghiradelli chocolate.

Prunes are squishy and they are just not pretty to look at. Any other food that looks like mud is usually relegated to the garbage can or compost pile. (With the possible exception of the frozen banana that has been kept for the expressed purpose of making bread, in which case the brown part isn't seen while being eaten.)

I admit I have not yet gotten to the age where I look forward to debating the pros and cons of eating prunes with my doctor. The day might come when I have to eat these words as well as the frightfully poop-esque prune. So far, however, that particular part of my body works pretty much the way it's supposed to. I may have become more of a tooter than I once was, but someone told me I could blame that on menopause, (which is a pretty convenient excuse for just about any middle-aged malady) not the slowing down of my intestines.

In defense of the prune,I went to the Sunkist website for some information that might help me change my opinion. I was surprised to find that people not only like to eat prunes, they also like to send the company seemingly heartfelt compliments. Get a load of some of these comments:
"May god bless you for your Gold Label Lemon Essence Prunes."
"I must tell you I am in love with your new product - Plumsmart."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for your Sunsweet Pitted Prunes!"
"I just loooove you're sunsweet prunes.. soo delicious."

To my astonishment, the Sunkist website also has several prune recipes. I can't help but wonder if my generational peers will one day share their nursing home desserts with the same anticipatory gleam in their eyes that they had in the 60's when they passed around the "homemade" brownies.

In my search for prune enlightenment I googled rather than gobbled. Up popped a site for prunella vulgaris. My curiosity was tweaked so I checked it out. In case you are ever on a TV gameshow or just need a subject to jump-start a lagging first-date conversation, Prunella Vulgaris is a chinese herb known as "self heal." The herb is full of anti-microbials and anti-oxidants, which I suppose is a good thing even though I'm not sure what it means. It is also showing promise in treatng herpes simplex. Not only that, it's fun to say ... prunella vulgaris, prunella vulgaris. Try it.

Funny, that's exactly what my dad said to me this morning when I handed him his prunes.


P.S. For another point of view you might want to go to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5081354 or www.prunes.org

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