III: Apricot

The miracle hybrids within the plum-apricot family.

tridi, the 13th of Thermidor, Year CCXXXI
Apricots ready for snacking. Photo by Ilona Frey / Unsplash

Good morning. Today is tridi, the 13th of Thermidor, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate l'abricot, a small stone fruit related to plums.

The United States Marine Corps is not supposed to be afraid of anything, but apparently an apricot going anywhere near a tank will strike terror into the troops' hearts. The superstition goes back to World War II, when rations were often transported to the front lines by armored tank. Tanks that broke down or got lost always seemed to be carrying apricot rations. This superstition was passed down by commanding officers to grunts in Vietnam, where the confirmation bias only grew stronger, to the point that apricot rations are no longer issued, and as recently as this decade memos have been circulated by commanding officers banning anyone who has eaten an apricot ("a-fruit" or "cot" to avoid even saying the name) within 24 hours from going near a tank.

It's peach season, so who would want an apricot? Unless you can get them exceedingly fresh from the tree, these smaller, less-sweet, often-mealy fruits are at the bottom of most people's stone fruit tier ranks ... unless you start looking at the hybrids.