Monday, October 26, 2015

On the pleasures of eating a grapefruit

My sister has just learned that she does indeed enjoy grapefruit.  How exciting it is to stumble upon a new food! Though I suppose it is a bit of a bittersweet experience, as one is both happy to have a new food to love and sad that one has missed out on eating said food for so long!  So this post is in honor of her new discovery.

Amidst the interminable, dreary winter days, those days long after the fun and merriment of the holidays have passed by, citrus fruits are a bright and shining beacon of hope.  So vibrantly colored with the colors that get forgotten in the gray and white of winter – greens and oranges and yellows and pinks.  And so piercing on the tongue – each with a unique balance of sweet and sour and floral taste.

And while my heart overflows with affection for the entire citrus family, I would like to focus attention on the grapefruit.  Not much love is given to this most wonderful of fruits. 

It is easy to overlook – it isn’t as perky as those Valencia or navel oranges.  It isn’t as cute and practical as the clementines and the satsumas.  It has not the versatility of the citrus stalwarts - limes and lemons.  And adding insult to injury, it lacks the sexy cache of a blood orange or cara cara orange. 

Despite all this, there is much pleasure to be had in eating a grapefruit.  Nothing - ok, lots of things actually - but in terms of produce, nothing would bring as much happiness as a child as when my mom would inform me that she had picked up some grapefruits.  A most delicious addition to my morning meal. 

Eating a grapefruit is a happy ritual.  I would pluck a pink orb from the crisper drawer and slice it in half.  Then I would examine the fruit closely.  Are there two large segments right next to each other?  If yes, I would be an extremely excited person, as that is known as hitting the grapefruit jackpot – I would be able to start and end on a big delicious note. If the answer was no, I would just save the biggest segment for last.  Then I would run a knife around the edges of the half to loosen them.  Then I would run the knife around each individual segment (no fancy serrated spoons for us).  Then I would start digging those segments out.  Eating the flesh.  Using the spoon to get all that juice.  Working my way around the grapefruit, ending with another large segment.  Then a wave of sadness would wash over me, as my journey had ended.

Grapefruit – a fruit that not only brings me happiness now, but to the happiness I felt each time I ate one. And is a reminder of the warmth and happiness to come.  Which makes this the most perfect winter fruit.  

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