Disneyfication of our food

Mr Thrifty’s parents have loads of apple trees in their garden, if I was them I’d call it an orchard but they don’t. But then, I have to try really, really hard not to call my dinner ‘supper’, I’m one of those kind of people (ahem). As Mr Thrifty’s parents only have the two of them at home, a small orchard (cough, cough) worth of apples are impractical to eat/cook (they’d be cooking every hour of every day) so we have lots of apples (and pears and damsons plus soft fruits in the summer months) sent our way at this time of year.

We chomp our way through the ‘eaters’ and bake with and cook up the ‘cookers’ and much to the disgust of our friends and work colleagues eat the maggoty apples too. Mr Thrifty is regularly greeted with mutterings of disgust from his work colleagues when he eats an apple with a maggot hole in it and I’m pretty sure one girl I work with almost faints every time she sees me bite into a misshapen, knobbly looking apple without a sticker on the side of it.

I am sick, sick, sick to the back teeth of going into shops to find food that looks picture perfect. I’m sick of regulation sized fruit, sick of cucumbers all needing to be the same length, sick of the colours of fruit being picked from a colour chart. Is anyone else fed up of this? Am I the only person sick of the Disneyfication of our food? Am I the only person who wants a bit of personality back in their food? Are people really demanding perfect apples? What happens to the ‘imperfect’ food? Is it just thrown away?

I tell you what, the ones with a maggot hole in are the tastiest. Those maggots know what they’re doing.


P.S. Would you, could you, do you eat maggoty apples?

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  1. I am a bit funny with fruit.

    Fruit bought at the supermarket, I have to wash (LOTS) and if it has a hole or imperfection I get nervous. Only because I have no idea where this piece of fruit came from and how it came to be there.

    Fruit from a garden that I have picked or from friends I am a less weird about, I will eat the ones with holes or imperfections as I know exactly where it has been…

    Is that weird?

  2. Well considering I am fussy enough to have to remove apple skin you’d think I wouldn’t but small piece would be cut out and the rest eaten. I too am sick of this homogenised world we live in, if it’s not allowing people to actually age gracefully (no we need to fad diet, avoid fat like the plague and then resort to Botox) then it’s making all the fruit and veg look perfect and consequently tasteless. So did carrot root fly stop me eating my home grown veg? Nah just cut off the bits affected and use the rest :)
    Go Mrs Thrifty we should have a new campaign, people on the continent don’t seem to buy their food this way so why do we?

  3. I might cut the hole out, but I’ll eat them! And If I don’t eat them I’ll damn well try and cook with them!

  4. I wouldn’t eat an apple with a maggot in it (that’s taking a high protein diet a bit too far) but otherwise yes. I prefer fruit I’ve picked myself. It adds a lovely virtuous flavour.

  5. I Love the idea of apples freshly picked off the tree..but i just couldnt eat an apple that a maggot has been in!.. i have a maggot phobia i think its from the time when i found maggots runnnig wild in my wheely bin and it totally freaked me out!

  6. I also eat misshapen and maggot hole fruit, but I cut out the hole and maggot first, cause I am vegetarian! I too hate perfect produce in shops, and I also hard how bland end tasteless they are. Home grown is by far better.

  7. I’m really not a maggot fan (have to look away when they’re on tv) but I would eat a maggoty apple (I’d cut out the maggoty bit). Although this morning I did throw throw a peach in the compost infested with hideous leaping maggots – euwwwghh. How can something with no legs leap anyhow?! I was simultaneously revolted and fascinated

  8. We get loads of apples from my in-laws at this time of year and yes I eat the ones with the wasp holes and maggot holes. I just make sure that I chop them up before eating just in case. It doesn’t matter that a maggot has been having a go on the apple – as long as it isn’t still in there!

  9. I always cut up fruit that has holes in after a traumatic experience with something in my apple the once (shudder) but I am not that fussy when it comes to food due to always having homegrown fruit and veg :)

    Maria xxx

  10. In supermarkets when I was last in Spain/France/Germany there was none of the uniform shiny polished fruit and only-perfected-straight carrots, in fact everything looked a bit deformed and well, natural. Natural fruit and veg isn’t going to be perfect and there is no reason looking nice and shiny makes something taste nicer. So much fruit and veg is just thrown straight into the bin because it doesn’t meet “guidelines” – it’s ridiculous when there are people who would literally die for a slightly misshapen pepper!
    I’m with you on this.

  11. My fruit and veg comes misshapen and complete with dirt either from garden or veg box. And shhh dont tell anyone but other than knocking off some of the dirt I dont wash everything to death :)

  12. well I’ve got to say that I wouldn’t really want to scoff a maggoty apple myself!

    I don’t really care that much how things look, as long as they taste good and are maggot free. Cooking apples are different, they’ve usually got some kind of fault/insect hole but I just hack them off and carry on.

    I’ve got back from Morrisons this a.m, carting a Harlequin squash/pumpkin back with me that I just had to buy for the funny shape. It kind of goes into a point, and comedy produce like that just needs to be bought.

  13. Totally agreed!

    Spent ages picking apples from trees on the roadside near my folks the other week – couldn’t believe there were so many unpicked!

    Made a rather delicious apple crumble for free!

    I would so much rather eat apples grown locally and organically than some bland powdery thing from Tesco.

  14. Maggotty or not – if its not soft and floury (heave!) I am nomming it.

  15. It shouldn’t matter what it looks like, aslong as it tastes good! I much prefer the curled cucumbers I have grown in the garden to the super straight supermarket ones!

  16. I’m so with you! I HATE that all our fruit and veg has been Disneyfied – it is so ridiculous and unatural. I wouldn’t eat the maggotty bit – I would cut it out – but I definitely prefer fruit and veg that is wobbly and imperfect and REAL. That’s the way nature intended it to be!

    Katie x

  17. I don’t care about maggoty apples fresh from the tree. Will get chopped up and cooked ready for use in puddings or porridge.

    Its weird that when we are gathering apples from tree’s I will gladly eat them without washing them. But you have to scrub those you get from the supermarkets to get rid of the rubbish they put on them.

  18. I have a phobia of worm type things after watching a strange documentary when I was about 10 about how you can tell how long something has been dead by what bug is eating it – they had lots of maggoty crawly things.

    Anyway, I generally chop of the little bit were the worm went through (incase he is is still there) and eat the rest – nothing wrong with that.

    My grandpa always used to say the worm is full of apple anyway.

  19. I could, I would and I DO eat the maggotty holed apples, AND the caterpiller nibbled lettuces and cabbages. Of course I always wash them first and check that there are no current inhabitants of my food!!

    I agree with you entirely that the ‘disneyfication’ of our food has gone too far.

    I grew a question mark shaped cucumber earlier this year (see here… http://ournewlifeinthecountry.blogspot.com/search?q=cucumbers ) …do you think that would have made a supermarket shelf…..I know for sure it wouldn’t have.

    We might have rows and rows of perfect looking food, but there is no taste! When are folk going to wake up and smell the lack of aroma, our food should taste and smell like the product it is supposed to be, we shouldn’t have the supermarkets puffing out the aroma of ‘freshly baked bread’ (warmed up, bought in frozen french sticks more like)to mask the fact that they smell like sterile warehouses and not food markets.

    Sue xx

  20. I don’t like apples, but if I were to eat them, I’d probably choose the imperfect ones because I think they have more flavour in them. I’d probably cut out the maggot hole though. I’d be more likely to eat an imperfect homegrown apple to an imperfect supermarket apple though, I don’t trust supermarkets. xx
    Sirens and Bells

  21. Interestingly, I’ve just been having to do a French comprehension task on a piece written about food shopping in the 1960s. It mentions the advent of this sort of food industralisation and suggests we only buy local produce at the market – it amazes me that the French were wise enough to spot this coming way back in the 60s! Fruit and veg here is a lot more varied (each market has a few people just selling the surplus from their garden as and when) but even here there is quite a lot of uniformity..

  22. And yes, I cut up and eat magotty apples and this year got to the point of not even looking inside the (occasionally) magotty cherries I was eating – I reckoned that what the eye didn’t see, none of the rest of me would grieve over.

  23. My OCD (as in real OCD) is triggered by small, soft bodied creatures (slugs and maggots being worst). Seeing them out of context makes me panic and think about lungworm and other nasties. Therefore I cut up ALL fruit and veg and inspect it prior to cooking/eating it. But of course this means having perfect looking fruit means nothing to me, because I am gonna cut it all up anyway! I use home grown, market and ‘value’ veg with ugly skin and funny shapes mainly.

    I don’t tend to pick up anything too worm holey for obvious reasons, but bumps and rough skin, no worries.

    Plus, I have found caterpillers in washed bagged salad before and worms in perfect plastic-wrapped apples. The beauty is only skin deep and an utter waste of money.

  24. I’ve just been given two bags of apples from a friends garden, I just chop out the bad bits and eat the rest but no way am I going to just chomp in, if I’m eating apples the only protein I want is peanut butter! I think the danger isn’t that all food is pretty, I think the danger is that so many people don’t know what to do with raw food. I know people who have unused sets of saucepans because ‘cooking’ is ready meals, from the fridge to the oven and they never cook. I think once you get used to handling food, then you get confident about eating stuff past it’s best before or cutting off the bad bits.

  25. Amen to that!!

    I hate it too that you can only get ‘perfect’ fruit and veg in the shops. No wonder food is sssssooooooo expensive when they have to plough most of it back into the soil.

    We grown our own veg and this year most of my carrots came up looking like the lower half of a man’s body. It made me laugh EVERY time I had to wash one. Just imagine, the shops could be filled with laughter!!!


    Love Marge x

  26. I completely and utterly and totally agree with you, i am also sick sick sick to the back teeth with mucked about with food….BRING BACK THE UNUSUAL AND MISHAPPEN.

  27. Nothing wrong with home grown at all. That said I can understand why people think like that as it’s the way we have been programmed!

    X x

  28. I eat veg from our allotment -so holey veg is standard fare at our house. If it had to be perfect to make the grade, a lot of it wouldn’t even get out of the allotment site. But then there have been no chemicals put onto our land since we took it over 4 years ago, so no chemical warfare to kill everything off including the beneficial critters.I’ve probably eaten loads of maggots in my time – all those blackberries and raspberries popped into my mouth as I’ve picked them as I just can’t resist!

  29. We had a glut of massive apples on our little tree this year- lots fell off in the wind and rain and by the time I got there, some were half rotting or had big holes- I just cut the nice bits and boiled them up for apple amber (put in the freezer for the winter)- definitely like to eat fruit that other people wouldn’t like. I like REAL veg too!
    Yes, it really annoys me too!

  30. My theory is that supermarket shoppers picked the most perfect looking fruit/veg first leaving the mis-shapen stuff in the crate. The supermarkets interpreted this to mean that people only want perfect looking fruit! Even now you see people picking stuff from the bottom crate rather than take the perfectly good stuff on top.
    I do a lot of my shopping in Unicorn where you can’t be too fussy about the size and shape of the veg. And there’s greenfly on the lettuce!

  31. We have two groaning apple trees in our garden at the moment. Whilst I’m a tad careful with checking out maggot holes on the apples I do use them anyway, I just cut them up first to check what exactly is lurking inside!

    This whole debate reminds me of a joke my grandfather used to tell – What’s worse than finding a maggot in your apple? Finding half a maggot! Shudder!!

  32. It’s funny you should talk about ‘Disneyfication’ of food – taken literally it can mean something non-perfect because when I went to Epcot at Disneyworld a few years ago, there was a ride that took you through some kind of greenhouse where they were manipulating pumpkins and squashes to grow in the shape of a Mickey silhouette! Amazing

  33. I’d gladly eat a maggotty apple, removing and rehousing the wee thing as I came across it. My Daddy and Grandpa grew everything from asparagus to watercress, so we always had fresh fruit and vegetables. I prefer to go to the farmers’ market (where the Produce Police has no jurisdiction!) and delight in selecting the most misshapen things I can find!

  34. Ahmen!

  35. I don’t mind what an apple looks like as long as it is juicy, crunchy and has flavour. If there is a big brown bit, I’ll just cut it off and feed it to the chooks.
    A number of years ago, banana growers in Carnarvon, Western Australia had an excess harvest of small size bananas which were intially rejected as they weren’t regulation size. Some clever marketing person (on behalf of the growers), came up with the idea to market these bananas as lunchbox size. Problem solved.
    I love all the nobbly bits on home grown produce. We grew carrots once that came in all shapes and sizes with one having two legs and an appendage in the middle. That delightful carrot was washed, peeled, steamed and served to the male member (no pun intended) of the household, much to the delight of my two daughters who were little at the time.
    I hate food waste.
    Anne xx

  36. Ate some leeks last week we found on the floor after the market had gone home. Much to someone’s disgust. They were nice. We washed them first, and they come out of the ground in the first place, which a lot of people seem to forget! I’ve got a friend who refuses to eat any fruit and veg as it’s ‘dirty’ because it’s been in mud! Yes she eats burgers and where have they been!!

    Supermarket fruit and veg is expensive, covered in packaging and more often than not, tasteless. I try to get as much as I can from local markets. Even in east London there are loads. So much cheaper. Today I got 3 avacados for £1, instead of £1.50 for one in the supermarket. Not forgetting the taste…supermarket tomatoes have no taste!

    Can’t wait to get my small allotment up and running!!

  37. Yes ThriftyMrs – I can’t believe people are so removed from their food either! A friend of mine grows pumpkins to show her children how they grow – and then just throws them out! EEEEEK – I said I’d be happy to have them and she looked puzzled…….

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