Why I didn't grab the grapefruit spoons is beyond me. You know, the ones with the bamboo handles and serrated edges. Dad and I were the only ones in the family who ate and even liked the tangy breakfast fruit. A real “eye-opener”, especially when it squirted in your eye, which was every time we ate it. Pink grapefruit was my favorite. Something about the color drew me in-of course, anything my Dad liked, I liked too. The “Red River” pink grapefruit were sweeter than the regular grapefruit, but we customarily added sugar anyway, giving the otherwise smooth and slippery refreshing treat a little texture. The saw-like scoop of the specially designed grapefruit spoons separated the individual juicy sections from the rind, sometimes bringing the thin, bitter membrane along with it. “That's where all the vitamins are” Dad would say with a squint. That was the moment when the inevitable squirt of acid would land right smack in the middle of your eyeball. You couldn't blink fast enough, half knowing it was coming and being equally surprised by the AM shock to your system. “Really Dad?”, I'd ask sarcastically, rolling my now stinging eyes. Like I was going to believe anyone who chronically told me food myths, usually about things I didn't like to eat. “Eat your Brussels sprouts, it'll make hair grow on your chest”. Yea, like every little girl wants that to happen. “How do you expect to grow-up big and strong like me?” was another Dad-ism intended to entice us into eating anything any child would turn their noses up at.
Truth of the matter is that the most beneficial nutrients of the grapefruit are in the fleshy lining of the rind. Dad just knew these things. He was a plethora of common sense knowledge he'd proclaim with a twinkle in his eye, making his statement of fact less believable. His delivery was characteristic of his Irish roots. His older, near twin brother was ironically a Pediatrician, granting him both the credibility and similar gift of stretching the truth. I loved my Uncle. It was he who instructed my Dad to let me eat anything I wanted after catching me snitch the curled chocolate off the cake on the buffet before dinner. “Latest word from Harvard...” I remember him say from the next room. Whatever study he quoted was ammunition I used for a time, but was most powerful in my Uncle's house.
I still prefer dessert before dinner but find myself exercising great constraint. I have grown to love fruits and vegetables and always have fresh produce in my house. This grapefruit was intensely naturally sweet which was a welcome surprise. A better surprise than having it squirt in the eye - especially with contacts. I prefer to juice grapefruit since I don't have the special spoons. Either way, it's appreciated more when you have to work for it. As Dad would say, “Here's mud in your eye”. Cheers!