Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Peeling Oranges

Okay. I have a confession to make: I never peeled an entire orange in my whole life until January of this year.

I think my dad loves to peel oranges. He always peeled them for my siblings and me -- usually for breakfast. He'd get the peeling process started by biting into the rind. Then he'd peel it quickly, without paying too much attention to how much of the skin he'd left on, which was always too much for me. So I'd spend a few more minutes easily pealing the white stringy pieces off, and I'd happily eat my orange slices.

Or not so happily. I wanted my orange perfect every time. It had to be sweet; it had to be juicy. It had to have nearly every piece of albedo peeled away from the juice sacs. I liked oranges, but they weren't my favorite.

For some reason this year, though, I decided it was time I peeled my own orange. I don't quite know why I had decided this, or more importantly, why I hadn't peeled an orange up to age 25. Whatever the reason, I decided to do it. I knew my parents usually bought navel oranges, so I started with a bag of those. I put them in the refrigerator because I like my fruit cold, and when they seemed like they'd be cold enough, I took one orange out, and began peeling.

I bit the rind, just as my dad had always done. I didn't know how bitter and gross that tastes. (I've since begun using a knife.) Then I slowly peeled the whole orange. It hurt my thumb, and I had orange zest under my nails. But it was fun. I had fun peeling an orange. And it tasted better than any orange I've ever had in my life.

Now for my epiphany: I love peeling oranges. I feel like I get some kind of frustration out as I silently work for my food. Working for it makes it more worth it, too, I think. It's the same kind of feeling I get when I eat pistachios. Having to work for my food a bit makes me appreciate it more. I've discovered that navel oranges are most likely my favorite fruit. I'm glad I finally found out!

Thing I'm thankful for: patience.


Blogger Genevieve Jones said...

I like to peel mine with a spoon. That way you don't get that under your fingernail... :) Oranges are great.


5:58 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I saw your post about your dad. I am a New York Times bestselling author working on a new book about father-daughter relationships and thought you might want to contribute. Please visit my page for details about submitting stories for Daddy's Little Girl.

Gregory E. Lang
Author, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad

6:11 AM  
Blogger kelly said...

In high school I was literally addicted to oranges. I would eat 3-4 a day and I got to the point where not only were my fingers and nails constantly stained with orange rind, but I could peel an orange completely devoid of any of the white stuff in a matter of 30 seconds. Obviously I burned out on oranges. A couple years later I burned myself out on pineapple in much the same way...Now I think blackberries are my obsession but it's not quite the same. There's no artistry to eating blackberries.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Heather S. said...

Wow-------how about that offer? WOW! That's cool!
I feel the same way about working for food. It DOES make it worth it. Like Crab.I LOVE CRAB. I love cracking the shell open and finding the hidden treasure inside. Often people say to me, "That's too much work" but to me it's not.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Ooooh, that is a good one -- crab, I mean. I love working for crab. Mmmmmm . . .

And Kelly, you should've written my post for me. You described your obsession with oranges in a vivid, picturesque way. SUCH a creative writer!

4:01 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yo, orange pericarpo/albedo is freaking good. i use a knife to peel the orange (navels of course, i'm into navels in a big way) leaving as much of the white part as possible. in the end when it's cut up into six perfectly sized slices, this white layer adds the texture to perfectly compliment the texture of the orange itself. open yourself up to new worlds sara- do it.

7:53 AM  

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