Every few years, tragedy strikes America’s heartland. It’s not the wiles of Al Quaeda or a resurgent militia attack, but Mother Nature herself. Sometimes a frost arrives unexpectedly, destroying all of the hopes and dreams that are great in America, at least in the form of pulp-free orange juice and hint-of-lime-flavored tortilla chips.
A few weeks ago, a frost hit California, wiping out three-fourths of America’s supply of oranges, and a healthy chuck (literally) of avocados, lemons, and tangerines. This means higher prices for those fruits and their secondary products, like guacamole and .0002% of the ingredients in Froot Loops.
So, as consumers, most people will have to be a little bit pickier about what they eat this year if they want to get a good deal and simultaneously stay healthy. As a highly important consumer advocate, I’ve composed a list of products that are likely to be on the shelves, and hopefully this will help you create a healthy, efficient diet. Maybe.
Advantages: Oranges are great for making orange juice and limeade. They’re usually plentiful and great for diabetics who are about to go into shock.
Disadvantages: Symmetrical sectional wedges are just a little bit too convenient for evolution to be responsible for. We suspect the Trilateral Commission.
Advantages: Sour and tart, the lime is a perfect fruit for desserts such as a gin and tonic. For you pirates and cat ladies, they also prevent scurvy.
Disadvantages: They’re very hard to throw at road signs with any pretense of accuracy.
Advantages: Lemons are the primary ingredient in lemonade and artificial lemon flavoring.
Disadvantages: Every time I eat one, my car sputters and I have a burning desire to watch Some Like It Hot. What’s wrong with me?
Advantages: They make guacamole, which for some reason most people love to eat by the ton. Me, I think guacamole dip taste like I’m eating a pasted tree, but I also hate Nicolas Cage’s acting and Texas Hold ‘em, so what do I know?
Disadvantages: They look like Bruce Vilanch. And who would want to eat that?
Advantages: If crushed, left to ferment and laced with yeast, they make a tasty drink.
Disadvantages: If you don’t do the above, why bother?
Advantages: Nothing beats eating a nice, cool slice of slightly frozen watermelon on a hot, humid, sticky summer day. Except maybe eating something that doesn’t taste like a glass of water filled with small, flat marbles and one eyedropper of something that tastes like sugar but not really.
Disadvantages: It forces you to throw out 20% of your purchase when you buy a Jolly Rancher variety pack.
Advantages: There are so many varieties of apples that if you don’t like one you’ll probably like another. And it is constitutionally required that everyone love warm apple pie.
Disadvantages: You know that old saw about giving an apple to a teacher? I wish! All I got was a union form I had to fill out declaring it as an in-kind contribution. And an apple a day keeps the doctor away? A complete, unabashed lie perpetuated by the cruel. So the apple can go to hell.
Advantages: It’s the poor man’s apple.
Disadvantages: It’s the poor man’s apple.
Advantages: Bananas are inherently humorous. They have a funny name and can be inserted into your ear for comic effect. Their inedible skins may be placed strategically for instant slapstick comedy. They’re also apparently rich in potassium, though I don’t really care.
Disadvantages: Makes your homophobic uncle Rick very, very uncomfortable. You need to get him some Zoloft or something.
Advantages: Artichokes sound like they’re something that could kill you. They probably could.
Disadvantages: No one in the history of mankind has ever voluntarily eaten an artichoke.
Advantages: They are integral in the formation of pizza. Which is why pizzas are healthy.
Disadvantages: Some communist somewhere declared that this was a fruit instead of a vegetable. There’s a reason there’s no such thing as a tomato pie. Hmmm. Is there such a thing? I sure as hell hope not.
Advantages: They can be dipped in chocolate to be made tasty. Otherwise, you’re better off eating grass.
Disadvantages: Apparently dipping a fruit or vegetable in chocolate negates any health benefits, which just somehow doesn’t seem right. Maybe they need to rerun some tests.
Advantages: Pound for pound, kale contributes something like 1000% of the vitamins you need to be healthy and regular.
Disadvantages: It’s kale.
Advantages: Supposedly it kills cancer.
Disadvantages: Yeah, right. Seriously. Shark Cartilage? Are you guys kidding me? Plus, this is technically neither a fruit nor a vegetable, nor a food of any kind. Whoops.
Advantages: Can be used in those miniature railroad presentations that old men with too much money and not enough lovin’ as arctic trees, which I assume exist.
Disadvantages: They differ very little from actual trees, both in nutrition, texture, and shape. And eating trees is an inherently inefficient way to prove to your girlfriend that you’re eating healthier.
Advantages: Radishes are good in some mineral and/or vitamin I’m too lazy to look up. Plus they don’t really have much taste so you can’t claim to not like the taste.
Disadvantages: Radishes are not vegetables. In fact, they are not food at all, but rather nature’s only pregrown construction material. Except for, uh, wood.
Advantages: The spicy pepper can add zest and flavor to even the worst meals fixed by your deadbeat sister or senile aunt.
Disadvantages: Wait about six hours after consumption. Then you’ll be searching desperately for any kind of religion.
Advantages: They can be carved in humorous shapes for Halloween and dropped from overpasses at moving cars in the ultimate skill of manhood.
Disadvantages: Do you, uh, actually eat pumpkins? I thought they were nature’s equivalent of the workplace prank. I always assumed pumpkin pies were made synthetically out of sugar, plastic and broken dreams or something.
Advantages: They can be found reasonably cheap as supply vastly outstrips demand, at least evidenced by the lonesome basketfuls of the things sitting in every highrise in every neighborhood in every part of the world. When fried in batter, they become edible.
Disadvantages: Just ask any sorority.
Advantages: Cranberries are one of nature’s healthiest crops. They are a famously effective antioxidant, helping to ward off neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. They have been shown to reduce urinary tract infections and can help prevent gingivitis.
Disadvantages: They taste like shit.