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What is your favorite food?
The pomegranate, of course.
I do not like pomegranates. They are messy, impossible to eat with dignity. So much work for a few seeds.
But is it not the effort that makes them that much sweeter?

Pomegranates are a winter treat. As soon as the temperature drops, these bulbous red fruits appear on grocery shelves. When split down the middle, their insides glimmer with tart, jewel-like seeds that burst in your mouth.

Art deco pomegranate via Greencolander on Flickr

The Prince has a point: without prep, eating a pomegranate is a messy, tedious affair. But Farah’s thoughts about the journey, the culmination of frustrating effort, are equally valid.

This seems to be a common concern with certain foods: there’s so little meat, flesh, pulp. But the effort seems to enhance the flavor, as if hard work were a spice.

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In the mid-’90s, kids cable channel Nickelodeon aired a show called Pete and Pete, a surreal take on childhood suburbia. It starred two redheaded brothers, each named Pete.

In one episode in particular, younger Pete befriends a fastidious inspector. Pete is impressed by Inspector 34’s goals of perfection and seeks to mimic him. As things get out of hand, perfection becomes more and more difficult to obtain. The episode culminates in a cookout in which the Petes’ dad serves messy, sticky barbecue.

The inspector, being perfect, uses utensils to cleanly eat his ribs, removing all traces of meat while leaving his bib and hands sparkling clean.

But “perfect” is situation-dependent. Certainly, cleanliness can be perfection. But those same ideals are rendered obsolete in a typically messy environment. Is it “normal” to eat ribs with a fork and knife?

Ribs ribs via rob_rob2001 on Flickr

“Barbecues are supposed to be messy,” declares younger Pete. “Eating perfectly is imperfect!”

Perhaps part of the fun is in the mess—and perhaps the same is true of pomegranates.

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