It started a few weeks ago when I was fighting off a cold. I bought a grapefruit to help load up on vitamins. Now the ominous sore throat and sniffling are gone, but the grapefruit remains in fairly frequent rotation.
Growing up I was never very excited by any fruits or berries. Other kids loved them, but I was hooked solely on the most artificial foods. All children have sensitive palates, as we know, and generally prefer bland, sweet flavors. But I was especially so. (I also sought the biggest, most mainstream brands of any product or service - more or less the opposite of how I am now.) I was a Big Mac lover. A Three Musketeers aficionado. A Twinkie connoisseur. All washed down with a Super Big Gulp. (Or on the home front, my grandma's chocolate-chip cookies, or her buttermilk pancakes bathed in Golden Griddle. Or my dad's wheat bread with butter. Or my mom's casserole. Or my other grandma's fried chicken! But I digress...)
Every once in awhile, though, my dad would cut me open a grapefruit. I'd sit at the counter on a barstool and watch as he carefully sliced the grapefruit in two down the middle, and then cut little bite-sized triangles going in a circle around the bowl-sized half. He then would sprinkle salt on top, and then you'd eat it with a spoon, digging out the little pieces one at a time.
After cutting grapefruits in the same methodical way on the occasional times I've bought them at the store (it always seemed like a lot of work to eat them), today, some twenty-five or thirty years later, I've discovered that you can actually cut open a grapefruit and pull out pieces in about thirty seconds instead of my usual way, which took about four minutes. Suddenly today, instead of slowly eating one piece at a time, I was tearing into this fruit like Fred Flinstone working on a bronto-burger.
I've often wondered, if I were ever to become a vegetarian, where would I get that sense of satisfaction that comes from a carnivore tucking into a hunk of meat, where you almost want to kind of growl like a caveman? But today the way I enjoyed that grapefruit in a similar way. Actually, when you think about it, the inside of a lot of fuits is called flesh. Must be something about the texture. It's that organic sense that I would have been afraid of as a child. It would have tasted too exotic. I'd clamor for French fries.
But today, tearing that grapefruit open, suddenly I felt like a fruit person in a way I never have before. Except maybe with the fresh orange slices dipped in chocolate served every year for dessert at my aunt Liz's annual Chinese New Year feast. But that's another fruit experience for another time.