Suddenly, it’s springtime in Brooklyn. The daffodils popped up this weekend, and now the cherry blossoms are coming out. The sun is shining, and deceivingly warm so as soon as I walk out of my apartment I realize I don’t need my jacket at all, and yes, I need sunscreen instead. A celebration is in order to truly mark the beginning of warm weather.
This week, thanks to Quinciple, I got my hands on some amazing blood oranges from Bernard Ranches in Riverside, CA. Bernard Ranches is a small organic family farm (only 50 acres), and their blood oranges are to die for. Blood oranges traditionally come from Italy, but can now be found growing in places like California and Florida. You might think that the blood orange is a variety in itself, but there are actually more varieties than you can count on one hand, and they vary in redness of the fruit meat as well as color of the rind. The blood oranges that I got my hands on were the most succulent and juicy oranges I’ve ever had, with meat so deep red it looked like, well, meat! And the rind, a beautiful orange with a blush of red.
Do you know that feeling when you were a little kid, where you were able to be totally fascinated by a toy for its color? (For me it was Duplos. Remember those?) I would hold one in my hand, a bright red one, or greet one, or blue one, and it felt like it was an enchanted treasure just because of the brilliance of the color. This is how I felt about these blood oranges. They are like eating rubies! Just the process of trying to peel it carefully to leave the peel in the shape of a star or a spiral. And to break the fruit in half and eat it segment by segment. But not just popping it in my mouth - peeling off the membrane skin so I can really see the vivid and shiny ruby red color of the blood orange fruit. It’s a funny thing to see this lustful red color and then taste orange. I wonder to myself, “does it taste red? Maybe it does. No, it tastes orange.” And then I look back down in my hands, which are dripping in red juice, and there is this succulent fruit waiting for my next bite. And this happens over and over and over again, with each segment, until all that’s left is a pile of orange and red rind. Maybe this will sound OCD to many of you. But seriously, when was the last time you really took the time to really savor what you are eating?
When I was a kid, I used to have competitions with my friends - the premise being who could eat their oreo cookie, or whatever snack the slowest. Sound weird? Well it wasn’t. Kids have an uncanny ability to savor the things they eat. Perhaps it’s because they are typically not in control of what and when they get to eat, especially snackfood - so when they get a treasure like a cookie they do all they can to make it last, and to really enjoy it - savor it. The process of eating becomes a slow ritual. As an adult, the inspiration to eat this way comes rarely. More and more often we eat our food on the go, or in great haste to get onto the next thing. But, a delicious fruit, like these blood oranges, which are, and should be, a rare treat since they aren’t local, are to be enjoyed slowly.
So celebrate this coming of spring, have a blood orange. There is nothing that inspires savoring food like a kid better. Maybe on a beach or boardwalk in Brooklyn, with friends - eat them slowly, and they will get you messy, and you will like it, and lick each and every one of your fingers afterward.
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