A not-so-plum job

Reminder: Regularly scheduled content to be here next week!

The O’Daniels have a wedding to go to on Friday night, and Olivia is quite busy. So this is her husband, Robby, stepping in for a guest column. Frankly, I don’t have much time either this week, so this will be a kind of stream-of-consciousness post.

So I get the plum job of trying and writing about plums.


Plums, I don’t think I’ve ever had them before. When I saw the bag, I expected them to have a weight to them, sort of like a purple apple. Instead, they are soft. Right off, that was disconcerting.

That wasn’t the only surprise. So I grabbed a plum out of the bag and just kinda bit into it. That’s not the thing to do. One needs a bowl or some sort of receptacle to hold the stream of juices that pour out of the plum. Seriously, you could hold a glass out and have a drink for later with the amount of liquid that pours out of this thing.


My immediate thought was it tasted kinda like a strawberry, though it was far messier. I like oranges, though I usually find them too messy and too much work to bother with, and this plum was messier than an orange. It’s as messy as eating an ice cream cone on an 100-degree day. The physical nature of the plum just disintegrates underneath your teeth.

It tasted OK. I kinda got a watermelon or orange vibe as I continued to eat it. Would I go out of my way to eat another one? No.


Fruits are healthy sweets, right? So eating fruit is kinda the same feeling as dieting. You know it’s better for you. It tastes sorta okay, but once you’ve been enlightened to the taste of ice cream, it’s hard to measure up. Anyone who says they’d rather eat an apple than a bowl of ice cream is just lying to you.

Like, seriously, why have kids ever had visions in their head of sugar plums? Who are these poor deprived children, whose idea of the best treat in the world is a plum plus some sugar? Have they never heard of salted caramel milkshakes?


Well, hold your e-mails because after googling “sugar plum,” I learned that sugar plums aren’t even plums at all. This is spelled out in a 2014 article by Rebecca Rupp for National Geographic’s website (of all places). Here’s a quote from that article: “According to candy historians and the Oxford English Dictionary, a sugar plum is a comfit—that is, a seed, nut, or scrap of spice coated with a layer of hard sugar, like the crunchy outer case of an M&M.”

Huh. Well, what do you know?


While we’re considering the plum in popular culture, remember when I said “plum job” earlier? Why is that a thing?

According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com, the origin of the phrase, “plum job,” is English. In the 1600s, “plum” meant 1,000 pounds. Huh.

So neither of these idioms seem to have anything to do with actual plums. To me, that’s as deceptive as the way the plum initially looked to me in that bag, like a purple apple with weight to it.

And also, why plum? Why is plum the word that means great or desired? What elevates plum above all other fruit as to be an adjective for a truly desired thing? Why isn’t it a “strawberry job” or an “apple job”? There’s “apple of my eye,” but “bananas” just means that someone is crazy. What is so crazy about eating a banana? They even go great with vanilla wafers!


Anyway, if I had to have a fruit to eat, I wouldn’t choose a plum. Instead, I’d go with a banana as my first choice, followed by strawberry, then apple, etc. That’s the correct desired-food ranking. But sure, if I was starving and there was nothing in the house, I would eat a plum again.

But I wouldn’t consider it a plum meal.


Author: Olivia O.

East Tennessee native with an interest in food and trying new things.

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