My Swedish grandmother, Farmor, spoiled us kids oh so generously. You didn't have to clean your plate, you could eat cookies before dinner if you'd been baking, and she'd let each of us have our own orange. This was so not how my mother did things. As a charter member of the clean plate club, there was no way she was going to let us go from the table until every bite was gone. Then she'd take your plate, scrape the residue of the meal into “just one more bite.” And make you eat that, too. Absolutely nothing to eat before a meal, and snacks had to be meticulously spaced to maximize our dinner appetites. And we never got a whole piece of fruit to ourselves. I think because it was so hard to get us to finish the whole thing to her “done” satisfaction. Fruit was always cut up and shared. But at Farmor's, we got the whole fruit to ourselves, and could decide on our own when we were done. Such a luxury.
I loved eating oranges at Farmor's. She prepared them “like a boy”. The story, as she told it, and she was a fabulous story teller, was that her seven year-old son (that would The Swede, my dad) came inside asking for an orange. She peeled it and handed it to him. “No! Like a boy! I want my orange like a boy!” It apparently took several oranges to figure this one out, with increasing agitation from The Swede and befuddlement on Farmor's part as she tried to make it the right way. In the end, it was determined that a boy about The Swede's age had been walking down the street across from their house, eating an orange. His had only the northern hemisphere peeled, so you could hold it by the side that still had peel, and suck on it and bite it, rather like an ice cream cone. Finally communicating, Farmor did as instructed. “And you put two sugar cubes down in the middle.” Now, how he knew this from across the street is yet to be determined, but this was Farmor, so of course he got the sugar cubes.
So when she let us have the whole orange, it was prepared “like a boy.” We never named it anything else. She even let us cram those sugar cubes down the center of our orange, and more than two if we could make them fit. And now when I prepare oranges like a boy for my kids, it's with a smile as I recall her love and devotion to making each visit with her a delight.
P.S Mom - you know I love you.
This has been an Alphabe-Thursday summer school post. Check out the other great takes on the color orange!