Canned Peaches and the Apocalypse

I love canned peaches. Let me rephrase that. I love home-canned peaches. The ones from the store, well, they’re palatable, but not necessarily delicious. And, no, they’re not that attractive when they’ve been unceremoniously plopped on your school lunch tray. But I love home-canned peaches enough that they come up several times in my novel, Until the End of the World.

The funny thing is that I had no idea that canned peaches are common in apocalyptic writing. Really, they’re everywhere. I can my own peaches, and my main character, Cassie, is the daughter of preppers, so it seemed natural to include peaches in the story.

But, why, when the found can of food in other post-apocalyptic books could contain anything at all, does it contain peaches?

There is a thread on Goodreads discussing this, and when I last checked it the other day, I saw that a few people had stated what I’d been thinking. Namely, that those peaches offer hope.

My main character, Cassie, says canned peaches are “like summer in a jar.” Even in our fruit-laden, shipped from South America winters, peaches are almost impossible to find. And if you do find one, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be terrible.

Which makes them inextricably linked to summer, to warmth, to juices running down our chins, to swimming and being a kid and not having to board the windows against things alive and/or dead.

So maybe, when the world is gray and destroyed, when we’re fighting for survival and eating things that we may have turned our noses up at before it all went south, the bright sweetness of peaches will be like coming home. Even if they do remind you of school lunches you’d rather forget.

After all, the world was a lot better back then, wasn’t it?

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