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.
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!