Once upon a long, long time ago, there was a princess named Aura. Princess Aura, newly introduced to the world of solid foods, loved fruit. Sure, sweet potatoes and minutely diced chicken were fine, but fruit! How could one love anything more than FRUIT? The kingdom rejoiced at the princess’s fondness for such healthy snacks, and the serfs down in their little fiefdoms worked harder than ever, intent on growing the princess as much overpriced organic produce as possible. Back at the castle, the royal fountains ran pink with watermelon juice. Spit-out raspberry seeds crunched underfoot. The king’s scepter was perpetually sticky from the bananas it mashed, and the queen’s robes bore mango stains that would never come out. Princess Aura flourished and noshed and all was well.
And then one day shortly after her first birthday, Princess Aura suddenly declared herself All Set with fresh fruit. Her subjects were shocked. Teeth were gnashed and garments were rent. Rumors began running rampant throughout the kingdom. Did the fruit suddenly taste different to the princess? Feel different in her masterful pincer grip? What kind of “naturally occuring fertilizers” were they using down in the fiefdoms, anyway? Amongst themselves, the princess’s ladies- in-waiting murmured suspicions about the overabundance of cake at the first-birthday extravaganza, pointing to Her Highness’s newfound love for anything iced, frosted, or containing ganache.
The King and Queen tried everything to re-whet Princess Aura’s former tastes. Elaborate and gravity-defying fruit sculptures were created, including one smiley face with cherry-slice eyebrows that really should have been documented by court photographers. Smoothies were produced by the gallons, the Queen stealthily angling her body in such a way as to hide the strawberries or bananas she was blending. Alas, nothing worked. The princess could sniff out a fresh berry from twenty feet. The mere suggestion of fresh-squeezed orange juice caused gagging so horrible that the kingdom’s subjects were forced to hide under their beds until the noise stopped. In the end, the only fruit allowed near the royal high chair was dried fruit, and so the princess’s exhausted parents became the best customers the kingdom’s Trader Joe’s had ever seen. Ever.
Eventually, the King and Queen surrendered. They told themselves to be thankful that the princess agreed to accept zucchini, still ate asparagus with a flourish, continued to demand her own half of an acorn squash. And life continued, with the princess growing and thriving, if perhaps at a heightened risk for scurvy.
Then, one weekend, the King, Queen, and princess left the castle for a little family bonding in the royal orchards. Princess Aura romped ahead of her parents, traipsing down rows of strawberry plants and frolicking amidst the blueberry bushes. Suddenly, a miraculous occurence occurred. Princess Aura stopped, squatted, plucked a strawberry, and popped it into her mouth. A royal press release was immediately issued, grandmothers were telephoned, and general jubilation echoed across the kingdom. Sadly, the magic ended by the time the princess returned to her car seat.
Yet the King and Queen were heartened. If only for a handful of days a year, their darling little monarch WOULD eat fresh fruit. It was simply a matter of driving all over the kingdom to find orchards and then camping out in them for a few days at a time. With this knowledge, the royal family and their subjects went on to live happily ever after. Well, most of the time. Primarily on days that involved naps.