Oranges taste best when you peel ’em yourself. Corner the rind between your front teeth, just to get it started, and then slip two fingers under the skin and pull…gently now, like peeling off a fresh scab. Like peeling sun-dried skin around your lips and eyelids. Peel with the right amount of strength and assurance so you end up with an orangy-smelling bracelet.
As you section it out, popping one luxurious half-moon of nectar into your mouth, you’ll find a nipple of rind at the axis, holding the whole sweet thing together. When you can bear it no longer, twist off the wrinkly nipple of rind – I trust you’ll find it bears the tartest essence of the fruit – where rind meets sweet, fuzzy tangles on the tip of your tongue. I nearly find myself craving the rind, but I know the joy is in the nubby section at the tip-top of the orange, the orange chakra, if you will. The navel. The core.
Oranges are alpha and omega. Food and beverage. I give myself one after dinner these days to cancel out my longing for ice cream and cake, drenched in lady fingers, sprinkled with sugar, soaked in bourbon. Just orange now, and sections, and nipple, nay, navel of rind jutting from ripe fruit.
It is less a punitive thing than you might imagine…