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...


  1. I have never eaten an orange, nor do I ever plan to. I have texture issues. However, I do love orange juice.

  2. That's hilarious, because I have a poem (which came out in Conditions years ago) in which eating an orange is a none-too-subtle metaphor for, shall we say, a sexual experience. Taut little bulb, juice bursting onto tongue, et cetera.

    Send all your oranges my way. ;)

  3. Oranges? Fly wings?

    Something malfunctions.

    Grapefruits? Lemons? Limes?

    What is the scope of this?

  4. It really is only oranges. I mean, I don't run around eating lemons and limes, but I don't have the visceral response to them that I do oranges.

    Once in college I ate a grapefruit for breakfast and then a few hours later, broke out all over my face. I thought I must be allergic to them, but then this guy told me it was beardrash from making out with him all night the night before. Who knew? I was so young in the ways of the world then.

  5. Grapefruits & Beardrash...that's the name of your next collection.

  6. How can you drink orange juice, yet the smell of oranges makes you nauseated, when taste is, in good portion, smell?

    I can't stand this. To my right brain it makes perfect sense, but the left brain screams lunacy!

    You've started another wrestling match that neither can win.

    It's probably something your mom did one morning, when you were feeling particularly defiant. And now I suffer as a result. Spoiled thang.

  7. There is help for you, Charlie.