Hand holding Apple

My mother used to say this to me. And my grandmother used to say it to her. So it seems only right to pass it on to my son, Max. Okay, so Max is only 9 months old and his comprehension skills are limited, but still, I like to say it to him at every meal time, just the same. Unfortunately, my poor little toothless boy hasn’t mastered chewing an apple just yet and so, instead, he consumes his apple a day in the mushy, rather flavourless form of apple purée. He’s okay with it. But this got me thinking, where did this well-worn phrase actually come from?

According to the Cambridge dictionary website, it simply means that “eating an apple each day can help to keep you healthy” (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press). Hmmm. That’s not that helpful. So I looked elsewhere and found an article on the Washington Post website which features information from Caroline Taggart, the author of “An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs and Why They Still Work.” Taggart claims that the phrase originated in Wales in the 1860s but began as ‘‘Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” Over time this became shortened, and in 1922 it eventually became the phrase we use today (Caroline Taggart, cited in Margaret Ely “History behind an apple a day” 24/09/2013).

Although the phrase isn’t as old as I first thought, the logic behind it comes from the Romans and Anglo-Saxons, who believed in the health properties of apples, as well as apples being used in medicine 1500 years ago in Southern Asia. So I have no real understanding of the truth behind the phrase but hey, I’ll do as the Romans do and keep feeding Max his mushy apple a day in the hope that he’ll grow up to be a healthy and strong little man.

 

References

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/an-apple-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away Accessed 13/09/2016 https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/history-behind-an-apple-a-day/2013/09/24/aac3e79c-1f0e-11e3-94a2-6c66b668ea55_story.html Accessed 13/09/2016