Every apple I’ve peeled since I was a girl has constituted not just potential food, but also a challenge.
My grandmother used to say I wasn’t ready to marry until I could peel an apple in one go, without breaking the strip of peel. She made it look so easy. I would try and fail, try and fail. As a child, I guess I thought it made sense that I couldn’t do it – after all, marriage was even further in the future than the next school holidays or Christmas (both of which always seemed so far away back when time was slow).
As I grew older, I never gave up trying but still couldn’t do it. Eventually, C. proposed, I said yes and we got married without me having passed the apple test.
However, I think I’ve figured out where the superstition comes from now: marriage frequently leads to babies and having babies invariably mean you’re going to be peeling lots of fruit. This is also the reason why I finally managed to peel an apple in one go today: I’ve been getting a lot of practice lately, now that F. is having mashed fruit in his oats every night.
My grandmother also used to say I should toss the peel to see the initial of my future husband. I can still picture the apple peel curling up on the floor. It seemed incredible that my grandmother was not only letting me throw sticky apple peel on the floor, but actually encouraging it. I was really hoping for a romantic C today (seemed easy enough to form out of apple peel), but I couldn’t make out any letter at all. If anything, the result looked somewhat rude. I guess that’s the apple telling me if I couldn’t wait until it declared me ready to get married, I should at least know my husband’s name by now.