Friday, November 15, 2013

lemons, too? phooey

There are few flavors I love more than lemon and lime, and lemon tops lime in my book, though maybe  only by a hair.

While wrapping my head around eliminating fruit, I've realized this may be the hardest. Funny, isn't it? Not apples or peaches or grapes or pears or avocados or even wine. Nope, for me it's citrus fruit that causing the most grief. I used to cut lemons in half and eat them out of hand, sometimes with salt, sometimes without. The lemons and limes in my fridge were the last fruits I gave away. It was hard. I knew I would not eat them or cook with them, and still it was hard. I must admit, I did something else that I normally NEVER do when removing a food I find I can no longer eat from my home. I kept a few limes, well, 2 limes. And half a lemon. It was a beautiful specimen: perfectly juicy with the most gorgeous pale yellow flesh. I couldn't send it down the garbage disposal or toss it into the compost looking like that. So I left it in a small open bowl on a refrigerator shelf where it could taunt me until it got all dry and brown and withered.

Have you ever put part of a lemon in the fridge to use later? In my experience, they don't usually hold up too long. They dry up or get kind of junky, and I rarely ended up using them, though I had the best of intentions. Not this last one, I pulled it out this morning, and it was just as beautiful as the day I put it in there, well over a week ago. I have since determined that was one evil lemon. It is now sitting by the sink where GK can use it to freshen the garbage disposal.

The limes will go today, too. Keeping them was just silly. What will remain is the void left by this exodus of citrus from my life. For years I've used it so often and in so many ways, every single day. Lemon juice in salads, on fish, in soup, on virtually every vegetable, brightening the flavors in lamb dishes. I'm hard pressed to think of a food not improved by lemon juice. Still for me and the rest of us who are fruit-less, it's history. And there truly is a void. White and red wine vinegars, Champagne vinegar, and cider vinegar are also fruits, as is citric acid.

Little by little I'm working through this fruit-free thing. And dish by dish I'm finding substitutes or rethinking the flavors. Distilled white vinegar holds some promise, though I will have to stop thinking of it as a cleaning product.

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