This morning, while catching up on the overnight developments in genealogy (we have a ketubah translated by an Italian rabbi, I have discovered that my grandmother had brothers and sisters and we now have family in New Zealand!) Wren came up to me with an orange. It was one of those thin skinned ones that are hard to get your fingernails under and leave thick rind of pith under the orange zest. Someone left it at our house after a party.
I normally buy the genetically modified tangerine oranges that sit in thick folds of skin like a loose envelope. They have a brand name even... SUMO's or else I buy florida navel oranges that also have a peel like a thick pulp. This orange is an older style - thin skinned and taut without dimples and folds. It's an old fashioned girl who will not slip out of her petticoat quickly.
Wren said "I can't peel it."
My first reaction was to say "Oh, we don't eat those oranges. Those are JUICE oranges."
Wren: What are juice oranges? Are they yucky?
Me: [backpeddling] No, they are fine to eat but this kind of orange is hard to peel..."
Wren: You can't peel it?
Me: [reluctantly removing hands from keyboard] I can peel it...but
I pause. Both boys are watching me and the orange and I sense some kind of test, a life lesson, a moment. If I was a good mother I would peel the damn orange instead of checking ancestry data on people who lived when an orange was a treat on a Sunday.
Both boys watch as I start to peel the orange. I get pith under my nails and the orange comes out white, not orange, but its done.
"There!" I say.
"How do I eat it?" asks Wren.
Me: You have to break it up into segments. Frost, would get get a plate for me.
Frost: Why do you need a plate.
Me: Because, I am going to stick my thumb in it and it might squirt.
Wren: OH MY GOD ITS GOING TO MAKE SQUIRT!
Frost returns with a plate and both boys wait as I try and segment the orange. As I poke it, juice drips on the plate in a satisfying example of making plans for all eventualities. For ever after, my boys will use a plate with their oranges.
Wren looks at the segmented orange.
|Wren is surprised that the "juice orange" is tasty. PS. Its so wet|
that we are wearing our raincoats inside these days.
Wren: "It looks weird."
Me: No, its fine.
Wren: Its going to be sour.
Me: No, its sweet. See.
I eat some. I knew it would come to this. I have to eat the orange too... even though it doesn't go well with coffee.
Wren is shocked. "ITS GOOD! THE JUICE ORANGE IS TASTY!"
Indeed. The juice orange is good.
Later in the day, Wren notices the orange has become slightly parchment-like and again resists it. I have to do more eating demonstrations. I explain about stringy bits.
When did peeling an orange become part of our curriculum? When did life get so easy that its too much work to peel an orange, that a Youtube Video titled "How to Peel an Orange" has 20,000 views.