Wednesday, January 10, 2007

So you think you know how to peel an orange

So did I.

Then I had an eye-opening experience--in a grocery store, no less--that showed me I only knew half the story.

I'm at Market Street in McKinney yesterday ogling the five for a buck grapefruit. Okay, so they were little grapefruit, but I was smelling them too, lifting and hefting and smelling before I selected my five. Up walks a friendly young man, mid-twenties, produce apron in tact, and wants to know if I want to sample one.

I decline, because if it smells like a grapefruit, then it'll taste like one in my book, but he is insistent. Come to find out, there's a new gizmo in the produce department for dealing with citrus, and he wants to try it for himself.

Okay, I agree, let's split a grapefruit.

He skitters across the floor and comes back with a slender plastic tool I've had in my repertoire for years, with a hook at one end for splitting the skin four ways (or more or less) and a delicately curved handle. Why a curved handle? Well, I had always thought it was to fit better in my hand.

Silly me.

I watch him split the grapefruit skin, all the while explaining that he'd been awestruck the day before as he'd watched this performance by someone else. He'd been looking for an excuse to try it and I was oh-so convenient. I quirked a brow and he grinned and said the original demonstrator had told him he needed to get out more. We laughed. Then he took the tool, turned it around, and I realized perhaps I need to get out more too.

He placed the curved handle between the skin and the fruit and worked it to the other end, niftily turned it again and completed another circuit. There, without skin and pith under his fingernails, was the makings of a skinned grapefruit.

I was awestruck. Here I'd had this perfectly servicable and much-used tool in my kitchen drawer for what seemed like forever and I had never turned it around!

Now I know how to peel an orange. Or grapefruit, as the case may be.

Guess we're never too old to learn.

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