Grapefruit past and present

Nov 12, 1987,  7am PST near Lake Wenatchee, WA…

Dad wakes me up for school. I reluctantly drag my 10 year old butt into the bathroom and take a shower. While the memory isn’t clear, I’m sure I didn’t wash behind my ears. Get out, dry off, go back to my room and get dressed. Dad opens the door, “I’ve got breakfast for you out here. Let’s get going.”

In the kitchen are freshly made muffins and half a grapefruit; each half wedge neatly separated from it’s membrane and the albedo (pith) into miniature supremes just waiting to be scooped out with a spoon. Living in Central Washington we did not eat a lot of grapefruit but they would show up in the house every once in a while.

The grapefruit would always be sprinkled with sugar to take the edge off  of the tartness. More often than not, it would still be too tart for me and dad would happily polish off the uneaten portion of my grapefruit.

Fast forward a few years to present day

I’m happily married to a wonderful woman, have a brilliant step daughter in Grad School, 2 dogs, 1 cat and live on the Gulf Coast of Florida (no, we haven’t seen any oil…yet).

As mentioned in my last post, my wife and I did the Master Cleanse fasting routine. To be sure, coming off of a fast is a delicate matter. You cannot just dive into the deep end and start eating anything you want. Which makes my timing that much worse; coming off of a fast over Memorial Day weekend was downright excruciating. All day I fantasized about having a burger, a beer, brat, potato salad, another beer, chips and dips, another beer…you get the picture.

The whole week I’d been eying 2 locally grown, ruby red grapefruits that had been sitting in the hanging basket. Every day longingly running through the moment I would halve one, cut each wedge and separate the pink, juicy flesh from the tough membranes and the pith.

By saturday evening I would wait no longer. I retrieved a grapefruit from the basket, grabbed my 8″ chef’s and 3″ paring knives from the block and went to work.

Bisection. The chef’s knife glided effortlessly through the equator of the grapefruit between the stem and blossom ends. The smell was intoxicating. With ever heightening anticipation I then carefully cut each wedge, one by one with the paring knife. Finally the paring knife nearly separated the flesh from the pith by itself.

With my spoon I extracted the first morsel. As I raised the spoon, my eyes took in the sight of a small cluster of glistening, full pulp sacs resting in a shallow pool juice. The smell, even more potent than before. At last, the taste. Mashing the flesh, juices flowed down my tongue.

Sweet.

Slightly tart.

Glorious.

This is not the grapefruit of my childhood memories. This is how they should taste. No sugar necessary. No puckering. And when all the flesh has been eaten, you can squeeze an ounce or two of juice out of each half.

My distant memories of grapefruit are not fond. Had I never occasionally witnessed my dad gladly eating his grapefruit I may have never had the desire to buy one. But here in Florida, home of some of the best citrus in the world, I thought of my dad and gave grapefruit another shot. And am I ever glad I did. Thanks dad!

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Food on my mind…

Monday began an odyssey that my wife and I have embarked on a few times now. We’re doing the Master Cleanse. For those of you who do not know, it’s a detox fast which involves drinking a ‘lemonade’ made from fresh squeezed lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.

The first time I did it, I felt great. Each subsequent time I’ve done it, the process has become progressively more difficult. You get hungry, you drink some ‘lemonade’, hunger goes away, rinse and repeat. I don’t have a problem with hunger. What gets to me is the desire to just eat something. My teeth feel bored. My tongue is getting lazy.

I want the crunch of a tortilla chip; to squish a banana against the roof of my mouth with my tongue; the perfect bite of al dente homemade pasta; crisp romaine lettuce; cool avocado; my barbecue pork.

Two realizations are revealed to me every time I do this fast:

  • When you’re hungry, you really don’t need as much food as you think
  • I love food

It’s that 2nd realization that always gets me. Whether I’m making it at home or eating it in a restaurant, I love food. Plain and simple. All types, it all has merit. Some more guilty pleasure, some purely pleasure.

I will be trudging through the next couple of days, biding my time until I can slice up one of those grapefruits that are tempting me from the fruit basket every time I walk into the kitchen.

Watch your back grapefruits, before you know it, you’ll be mine.

mmmm…….

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Let’s get one thing straight

I. am. not. a. Foodie.

In fact, I hate the term. To me, the word represents a trend not a conviction.

Foodies…
–Go out of the way to let you know they love ‘insert-ingredient-of-the-month-here’. And a month might be a bit too long…
–Jump from one trend to the next. Just look at bacon in recent years. Since when was bacon EVER not good?
–Flip-flop. One day exalting a modern “take” on a classic as being a vast improvement…the next extolling the virtues of authenticity and originality

That being said, is it bad to have shifting tastes? NO! Try new things! Discover something wonderful! But do it for yourself. Don’t like something just because everyone else does it. Let the food you eat stir you. Let it get you excited!

Maybe your thing is Jif and Smucker’s Grape Jelly on Wonder bread. GREAT! Or maybe you like fresh ground, unsalted, organically grown peanut butter with home made blackberry jam made from handpicked wild berries on artisan bread. That’s awesome too! But don’t like either one of those things just because someone else does…or a magazine wrote about it…or a blogger said it was good.

Like new things? Get out and try something new! Find a restaurant you’ve never tried. Just because it didn’t open last week doesn’t make it any less new for you! Go to your regular haunts and order something you’ve never tried.

Or, maybe that 14,823rd PBJ gets you just as cranked up as the 1st! MORE POWER TO YOU!

But I’ve ranted long enough. There are plenty of bloggers and food writers out there who are doing good work. I am not disparaging them. Hell, I’m starting to write a food blog myself. My point? As with every other aspect in life, think for yourself. Don’t jump on a bandwagon just because it’s cool. Maybe the bandwagon introduced you to something you never tried before, but if you don’t like it, say so; don’t keep eating it until it falls out of fashion.

Try new things or don’t, but above all else, eat for you.

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