My Food Shame

One of my most embarrassing confessions: I’ve only just recently eaten an orange.

I was sort of famous among my former colleagues for having never actually eaten an orange in my life. If someone in the office was peeling an orange, even if it was in another room, I could smell it and it would make me nauseated. Despite this, I have often enjoyed other orange things, like orange sherbert, orange soda, even orange juice, including the occasional Screwdriver or Sloe Screw Up Against the Wall.

It’s often embarrassing to let people know I don’t eat oranges, or endure having orange eaten in my presence, so I keep pretty mum about it.

A couple months ago, I attended a work-related event at which a fruit medley was served. It looked delicious, but it contained….blood oranges. Not wanting to be rude, I took some of the salad, trying to avoid the blood oranges without drawing attention to myself. I was unsuccessful and ultimately had two of the little sections on my plate.

When I look at an orange, I don’t see fruit. I see the veins like housefly wings; I see alien eggsacks from science fiction films, I see internal organs. The blood orange was even worse–blood mauve, veiny, fleshy.

But I was a good boy. I was a grown up. I ate those two little sections of blood orange right up. And it wasn’t awful–I liked the tartness, but the texture still bothered me.

Yesterday I bit the bullet, so to speak, and tried making pork tenderloin with an orange and red onion salsa. I bought the oranges–I even peeled them myself!–and coarsely chopped them, then added the ingredients. I made the black beans and rice, I made the pork…and then topped it with the salsa. There was no going back.

Until I tasted one of the orange bits. I nearly puked. Needless to say, I scraped it ALL of my pork and ate around it.

But I could still taste it, slight undertaste in everything on my plate, circling like little tastebud sharks…

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