…But one of the most difficult to eat. I love the taste of oranges but absolutely hate touching them with my fingers. When I was little my father used to peel them for me, then dip each segment into white sugar until they were covered. Delicious but counterproductive health-wise., I suppose.
Later on I never ate them because I didn’t want to peel them and eating them quartered over the sink was ok but quite uncivilised. Apples were easier. No. There were a few years in one school when a colleague would sometimes share her peeled orange with me. That was nice.
I went to Madrid when I was seventeen to stay with a family in order to improve my Spanish. Jose and Paquita Eizaguirre were marvellous. They never let on they spoke any English and slowly but surely my Spanish improved. They helped, encouraged, corrected and were generally wonderful. They had a lovely maid Luci who became my companion and friend as she was more my age.
All was well until one evening at dinner Luci served oranges for dessert. Delicious. But what to do? I couldn’t refuse to take one because I had already indicated I loved them.
So I picked one up and put it on my plate not noticing the cutlery in front of me. Abhorrent though the idea was, I began to peel the orange with my fingers.
You should have seen the look of horror on tio Jose’s face. No! he said quite sharply, – Here in Spain we use a knife and fork. I must have gawped. It was a very new idea to me.
He smiled and showed me how to peel an orange elegantly at the table. No spills, or drips or pith. Perfect mouthwatering slices. And so for the last fifty years whenever I have been really desperate to eat an orange – like today – I find a sharp knife and a fork and a plate and I sit down at the table to delectate!
Almost a Proustian moment!