Citrus and Spoons and Sharp Things

When I was a child, we ate a lot of grapefruit, ruby red grapefruit from the Texas Rio Grande Valley, where I was born. After we moved to Corpus Christi, my father’s job involved regular travel to The Valley (as we called it), where he regularly bought large bags of grapefruits (and oranges and lemons and limes) to take home.

I don’t remember whether we used grapefruit spoons back then, but I don’t think we did; I’m not even sure I knew they existed. I don’t know when I became aware of grapefruit spoons. I know what they are now, though. The ones with which I am familiar are narrow spoons with semi-circular serrations along the tip. I’ve seen photos of others that lack the serrations and, instead, come to a sharp point. I think we (or I) may have once owned a serrated grapefruit spoon or two, but that may not be correct. It or they may have belonged to someone else; the memory is fuzzy.

I am certain I did not know of grapefruit knives until much later in life. I think my wife introduced me to the one and only grapefruit knife I’ve ever had. It’s a short knife, serrated on both sides of the blade and bent at a slight angle about three-quarters of the way down the blade from its purple wood handle.

The reason grapefruit and utensils made to simplify their enjoyment are on my mind this morning is that we ate a grapefruit this morning. As I used the knife to separate the membranes from the pulp of each section, I remembered how messy grapefruit-eating was during at least part of my childhood. I must have used a regular spoon (would that be called a dinner spoon, a dessert spoon, or a “regular” spoon?).

After breakfast, I did a little research on the history of grapefruit spoons and knives because—well, just because. During the course of that research, I read that Alton Brown had, in one episode of Good Eats,  extolled the multi-tasking virtues of grapefruit spoons. In a later episode, according to the article, he accused them of being single-task utensils that unnecessarily take up space. With respect to the grapefruit knife that has been in our kitchen for as long as my wife and I have lived together (which has been longer than we’ve been married), if there is another use for it than sectioning grapefruit, I don’t know what it is. But I cannot imagine a kitchen without one! If our beloved grapefruit knife were to disappear or break or otherwise become unavailable for its intended use, I would be unable to eat grapefruit for breakfast until I secured a replacement. I could not return to the messy method I employed in my childhood. And I cannot imagine using a grapefruit spoon, either; I have come to favor separating the pulp from the membrane with that specialized tool.

Do I not have anything more important about which to write this morning than grapefruit and the utensils used to eat them? Apparently not. And that’s just fine.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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4 Responses to Citrus and Spoons and Sharp Things

  1. Mutation is in the eye of the beholder.

  2. LTL JMY says:

    You should talk about the important things regarding Ruby Red Grapefruit! The fact that they are radiation-based mutants! Now, THAT’S interesting!!! 🙂

  3. Ha! I’ll have to give that a try!

  4. Thi article reminds me of just how delicious grapefruit is, especially when a little champagne is poured into the newly sectioned half. So yummy. Probably defeat the healthy purpose of a grapefruit by turning all that acid into sugar. Try it, you’ll love it.

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