When you think about “raisin” what comes to mind? How do you feel? Meditate on that, then continue reading. Now that you’ve thought about it, I bet you feel one of two things. You may feel relatively nothing. Raisins are fine and there’s no real need to talk about it; they’re in scones, cereal, cookies, trail mix. You never really notice cause they’re not really important, but it’s not like they’re harmful so why not stand in favor of raisins?
If you don’t feel nonchalant about raisins, you vehemently hate them. You detest, you despise raisins, you want them off the face of the earth, out of every kitchen, off of every shelf. You want them to burn. Raisins are the worst thing that have ever happened, no doubt.
But why are we like this? Why must we feel such passionate hatred for raisins? Why does there seem to be no one who passionately loves raisins?
Firstly, let’s define a “raisin”. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a raisin is “a grape of any of several varieties that has been dried in the sun or by artificial heat.” These little berries are covered in a wrinkled skin, and are extremely malleable. Their resemblance is not unlike that of your grandparents, or any old people you know, matter of fact.
Is this why such a large population detests them?
Think about it. In most cultures, cannibalism is looked down upon. In western culture, the mere act of eating a human body will most definitely result in jail time of some sort, as cannibalism often goes hand in hand with murder. According to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, cannibalism is not technically illegal in the United States. However, “even if someone consents to be eaten and kills himself, the cannibal may still be liable for criminal or civil actions based on laws governing the abuse or desecration of a corpse, which vary from state to state.”
It’s safe to say that cannibalism is not an acceptable act.
So does this relate to the qualms some have with raisins? Could it be blamed on the texture of the fruit? Or could it be the taste?
Raisins, like many dried fruits, are sweet in their own special way. The sugar is not derived from sugarcane and high-fructose corn syrup like most sweets, and therefore, the raisin retains its natural flavors. To some, this may be distasteful. It’s well known that most of the world has a sweet tooth, and for many, that does not mean for raw sugars, but for highly processed sweeteners.
Americans, for the most part, have a ridiculously unhealthy relationship with processed sugars. According to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, “More than 70 percent of Americans eat at least 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily.” On top of this, processed sugars are suggested to be just as strong a stimulant to the brain, if not more so, as cocaine. Furthermore, sugar has been found to stimulate the same pleasure centers of your brain as both cocaine and heroin.
So, maybe we didn’t come to a conclusion here. Maybe we won’t ever really know why raisins have the power to ruin someone’s day, while not affecting others. Either way, at least we learned something new today.
By Maeve Cawley