I just ate a grapefruit for lunch. Well, no, it wasn't all I had for lunch, alas, it was the dessert to a totally healthy lunch of the pasta primavera I made last night, which I thought was amazingly delicious but which young M scorned as containing too many vegetables - "It would be okay, see, if there were just a few vegetables but that, there's like big clumps of them and you can't get just noodles." - and Chex Mix (damn you, office leftovers.) The pasta primavera, naturally, featured a major cheese sauce - that's a cheese sauce with major amounts of various cheeses, not one of your wimpy recommended cheese sauces with only half a cup of low fat cheese, no, uh uh, not in my kitchen - but I fully believe that the aforementioned clumps of vegetables leech the extra calories right out of the sauce. You know they do.
However, this post is not about my amazing pasta primavera, even though it did contain broccoflower, which my children refuse to eat as unnatural but which I think is the best argument for Science since the invention of the snow globe ring. Hey, it sort of glows and it's delicious! What's not to like?! It's about grapefruit. I adore grapefruit, more so since I discovered that you don't have to eat it the fancy way my overachieving mother always gave it to us, halved, all the segments cut out with a grapefruit knife, drizzled with honey and in a lovely glass bowl. I don't do that, because I'm sane, so it made me happy to discover at some point in my thirties (I'm sane but I'm a little slow on the uptake) that you can eat grapefruit like an orange, making it much more desk job suitable. The problem is, my mouth feels funny lately after I eat grapefruit and this funniness does not disappear like the stickiness on my hands or the nice smell of grapefruit rinds wafting gently from the trash can. It lasts and lasts all day, which, it occurs to me, may be the genesis of the idea of grapefruit as a diet food.
I'm right there with the idea of citrus as diet food because, you see, once, back in the dim and distant early eighties, I was a typical American teenage girl in high school whose extremely healthy body image meant that I could eat more or less anything unless there were boys present. It's well known that you cannot eat in front of boys because . . . because. . . just take my word for it. You can't. Well, that's not strictly true: there are a few things you can eat in front of a boy because otherwise the boys might start to realize that you weren't eating in front of them and then, horror of horrors, they might mention food around you! What would you do then?! Seppuku, probably. Anyway, there were boys present in the high school cafeteria, which meant that it was impossible to eat there. It was necessary to present a laughing face of utter disdain for something so earthy as food and act like all you, personally, ever ate was cordon bleu cuisine from the finest restaurants or moondrops and dew or something. Or, yeah, the occasional Big Mac. For whatever reason, at this particular school, no matter what else was being served, there was always an unlimited supply of white bread, butter cubes in little round dishes and sugar and lemon for your iced tea. So we would make extremely healthy sandwiches of white bread, butter, sugar and lemon juice. Or just pour sugar on lemon slices and eat that. This was infinitely more attractive than eating some kind of, god forbid, actual food and I hope the boys appreciated it. Then we would waft off to our next class, increasingly thin and more than a little hyped up on sugar.
Lemon slices coated with sugar have a similar effect on your mouth as plain grapefruit, as do the heroin/crack/nicotine of the candy world: candied grapefruit slices. I first got turned on to these evil little things this past December during the annual Passively Aggressively Drown Your Workplace In Fattening Snacks holiday munch-a-thon. They're even more addictive than the Sunkist Fruit Gems that you can get out of a barrel at Mast (you used to also be able to buy them in bulk at the health food store, god knows why) which at least don't turn your mouth all funny. Candied grapefruit slices will kill your mouth to the point of rendering you unable to eat anything else for days. It doesn't matter. You won't be able to stop eating until they're all gone and you curl up in a fetal ball under your desk and mourn their passing, shaking a little.
But I made it through the holidays. I survived withdrawal from the candied grapefruit slices and my mouth healed and everything was sunshine and roses and I could even eat regular grapefruit, until, suddenly, now, or, well, a week or so ago, my mouth is getting all weird. There must be boys around.