Monday, February 6, 2012

Grapefruit, or What I Didn't Know

Growing up I ate grapefruit the way I was taught. I sliced it in half, through the central axis, creating a fruit face that displayed pie segments of bitter, light flesh or sweet, pink pearlesence. I would use a knife to cut along the edge of the pie-shaped wedges, along the membrane and the pith, then I would use my spoon to scoop the sliver out of its cell and deposit the morsel to my mouth. After all the pieces were eaten and the membranes and hull remain, I would pick up the fruit in my palm and squeeze it so the juices that ran out were caught by my spoon. In this way, spoonful by spoonful, I would slowly sip the remaining enjoyment from this citrus. With this approach, eating half a grapefruit is a commitment of time and energy. By the time you finish one half the fruit you decide you’re probably satisfied enough to put the other half away for a morning project on another day (because then grapefruit only occurred to me as a morning time food).

It wasn’t until I was 25 that I saw grapefruit in a different light. As I drove, I watched as a friend peeled away the skin of a grapefruit and divide it into segments. I had only ever seen this done with its sister fruit, the orange. My friend ate the grapefruit, and offered me a few slices, that we ate without the mess or the ritual of my previous and singularly known approach to grapefruit.

With this new way to eat it, I found that I had a fuller appreciation for the fruit. It became a viable snack. Eating it now was less about an intermittent morning ritual and more about enjoying a healthy, Vitamin C packed treat. I buy bags of grapefruit now, and peel and enjoy at work, in the park, on travel, and still for breakfast sometimes.

I didn’t realize I was missing this fruit in the first quarter of my life; I just didn’t have an appreciation for it. I didn’t know that I didn’t know how to better appreciate this slice of life. It’s these tiny discoveries – of learning what we didn’t even know we were missing – that can bring sweetness of into our daily existence.

Is there something you didn’t know you didn’t know that upon discovery has brought lightness to your days?

No comments: