I eat most of my fruit with one hand, while I’m doing other things: reading at work, putting away dishes, reading at home. Oranges take two hands to peel but one to eat. A few fruits take two hands, and I don’t eat them often because I don’t want to spare the time, the attention, the extra hand. Grapefruit is one; I used to eat halves with a spoon but now I only ever handle them the way my mom did when I was small: peel away the tough peel, split the globe into halves, pull the delicate inner skin away from the sour flesh and either put pieces of it into a bowl or eat it straight off the pith. Asian pears are another. It’s their time of the year and our tree did well, so for the only month or so of the year I have as many as I want. It’s possible to eat them like a regular pear, but the skin is tough and fibrous, and it gets in the way of the taste. So I peel them.

I had one for breakfast today (after a paratha–it was an unconventional breakfast because we had no potatoes, no eggs, and no bread in the house), sitting at my desk chair while Eric shopped for Zen alarm clocks, a bowl of peel in my lap, a paring knife in my hand. I peel the skin off in thin strips, then cut into the white body of the fruit (Moby Dick-like, only more appealing), slipping pieces into my mouth to crunch and catch the juice. It’s a very slow way to eat a piece of fruit. I’m a fast eater, and I don’t generally like to devote a lot of time to the actual consumption of food, though I don’t mind spending time preparing it. But it does make me value the food more: I’m not distracted by the book I’m reading, or other things in the room, or other food on my plate. I give my attention to the way the flesh gives way under the knife, the grainy texture in my mouth, the suddenly abundant juice when I bite. It’s me and the fruit, each consuming the other.

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