Thursday, August 25, 2011

Attempting Citrus

I had my first orange today.  Alison and I went to little corner store that has good produce and bought a couple oranges.  I thought we were buying one for her and one for me, but I later realized that one orange was much sweeter than the other and that having a back up (or a comparison) was a brilliant idea!  Alison peeled them and then we talked a little bit about the “pith”—another foreign concept to me. 

Now oranges have played a weird part in my personal history.  I watched my father drink a glass of orange juice every morning when I was a kid.  I could smell it and guess what it would taste like.  I’m told the doctors and nurses would get very excited as they fed me spoonfuls of orange juice as a child and I reacted “just like the textbooks said”!  Every soccer game, during half time, the other girls would swarm around and gobble up orange slices.  I had a little Ziploc bag of apples and felt quite left out.  Once or twice I’ve been asked to go to the store and pick up a few lemons and limes, only to arrive at the store and realize I was probably the worst person to do this job.  I still have no idea what makes a good lemon or a good lime.  I’ve been going on the “firm, not squishy” rule for most fruits.  I have no idea how successful that has been , because I’ve never eaten a citrus fruit I’ve picked out.  Alison cut open a key lime once and I raced over to smell it.  “Oh, they smell like Froot Loops” I said.  My early experiences with citrus were Froot Loops, apparently, so maybe my base of reference is off.  In college, we had a creative writing assignment to describe eating an orange.  I bought a mango and made a complete mess trying to cut a mango with a plastic 
knife in my dorm room all while typing.

So pith.  It’s a funny word to say.  My only two references to pith are “pith helmet” and “pithy”—neither of which allows me to understand orange pith.  My first instinct is to peel it off. It’s like the skin.  Web dictionaries define pith as connective tissue in plants.  It is also referred to as the skin and the underlying essentials; the core of something.  For the longest time, I thought “pithy” meant shallow and thin.  It actually means the opposite—something meaningful and weighty.  Again, none of this helps me.

Alison tries to discourage me from picking at it too much and just eat it.  I’m curious, though, and I like picking at my food.  One small move, however, and a very cold squirt hits me just above my eye.  Another rookie mistake.  Mental note: don’t do that again.

I really want to get off as much of the white stuff as possible.  I pry the wedge apart.  At this moment, (perfect timing as always), Alison says “it’s like a whole bunch of tiny petals.”  This is brilliant because I was thinking it looked like a whole bunch of hairs and her way of thinking is much more appetizing.  This is another texture notion.  I’ve been trying to find a comparison to it, but I don’t have one.  There were all these little tiny juicy pods squished together in a pre-sliced package.  I want to be able to pick out each tiny little pouch and eat it.  Or poke each one and pop it—like bubble wrap!  Oranges are unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. 
I like them.  I like how juicy and pre-sliced they are.  Alison says they are the perfect snack—portable, juicy, and good for you.  Honestly, I really like this whole pre-sliced fruit idea.  It feels very neat and futuristic to me. 

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