Perfect, sultry Red Delicious was my childhood favorite, but I haven't had one in decades. Will this apple be my Proustian madeline?
Everyone probably knows Red Delicious--large, ribbed, impossibly elongated, and a beautiful glossy red with deep purplish streaks, freckled attractively with many light lenticels. Its characteristic conical shape tapers down to prominent bumps or "chins" at its base.
This is the apple the witch gave to Snow White. My sample is extra shiny from wax.
So, here goes. There's crisp juicy yellow flesh that is rather coarser than fine. The taste--well, this is striking--there really isn't any. There's sweetness, a tiny hint of balancing tart that is mostly manifest in a slightly astringent finish, but nothing else. (No Proustian recall for me.)
This taste of this apple is so generic it could almost be that of any number of other fruits, were they similarly stripped of identifying characteristics. (This is not like the lightness of, say, Mutsu, which has distinctive character if not strong flavor.) Not unpleasant, but why bother?
In my early 20s I knew a young woman who had at one point run away with fruit gypsies to pick apples. She sneered at Red Delicious, a "cardboard apple." Still in thrall to my childhood tastes, I didn't understand her. Now I do. Jennifer, you were right.
Update: More on Red Delicious here.
Further update: If you like Red Delicious, you might also like these.