if peeling clementines were a profession…

clementinesAn Acceptance Speech

Wow, it is an honor and a thrill to be chosen by my colleagues for this prestigious award. Truthfully, I never set out to become a professional clementine peeler, let alone “a legend in the field” (thanks for that wonderful introduction by the way). But this definitely proves the adage that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Yes, I have peeled a lot of clementines in my lifetime and possibly even millions of these small, delicious spheres of sweet perfection in the last month.  Yes, I have done so with dexterity, stealth, and while juggling several other tasks, mostly of a holiday nature. But really, this has been a labor of love.

The beauty is that, to get to the heart of this fruit, you don’t need a pair of ever-elusive scissors. There is no mixing, rolling or sifting involved. All you need are your bare hands, a bit of patience and a willingness to get your fingers covered in a strange, strongly-scented film.

If I could take this opportunity to impart some advice to those of you who are aspiring to similar greatness, I would remind you that, as with all professions, it is important to keep learning and pushing the envelope. On this note, clementines do not string well on the tree – cranberries and popcorn are still better for this. And, for the record, it is not yet illegal to peel while driving but this could change once my case goes to court (case of delectable clementines that is…)

Anyway, behind every great clementine peeler is a supportive and citrus-loving family and I feel grateful for the following:

First, I’d like to thank my older brother and mentor who impressed and inspired me at an early age with his ability to peel an orange while keeping the rind in one piece. Well peeled, big bro, well peeled.

I’d like to thank my mother who always had a bowl of clementines out at this time of year.  This bowl was always perfectly mounded, despite our rapid rate of ingestion. More clementines seemed to magically appear throughout the day, to keep her counter top magazine-ready at all times.

I’d like to thank my husband, who upon discovering the specific splendor of this extra sweet fruit a few years ago, stood at our kitchen island in the Bronx and pounded about 16 of them in under seven seconds. This legendary frenzy, complete with slurping and rinds a-flying, made cookie monster seem like pillar of restraint.

I’d like to thank my 2 year old son who is now our latest clementine convert. He has decided that he prefers the pulp and juice over the skin, causing him to extract disgusting half-chewed sacks of citrus and saliva from his mouth and depositing them on his tray for me to dispose of. Of course, this has not caused me to love him (or clementines) any less.

Finally, I’d like to thank clementines themselves. Of course, I couldn’t have done any of this without you. Not only has this been a truly wonderful collaboration, you have given me the best holiday gifts anyone could ask for: you have helped me eat a few less cookies, a few less chocolates, and you have single-handedly kept the scurvy on this holiday ship very much at bay.

peeled clementinesDo you partake? Or do you have a similar obsession of an edible kind this time of year? Leave a comment below! And hope you are all having a happy one…

For more home tome but in smaller “segments” and flavored with the zest of infinite clementines, follow me on twitter here.

12 replies

  1. Aw shucks, and I was going for the Guiness world record of professional clementine peeler. Guess you beat me to it.

    But seriously, we love them here too (except my 2 year old even likes the skin too). I have this thing about keeping the peel in one piece when I peel. I feel like a failure when I don’t manage this feat. I’m sure I would get along nicely with your brother.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. “Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine . . . ”

    We always had mandarin oranges at Christmas and it doesn’t feel like Christmas without them! Bonus: kids over a certain age will happily peel their own and not make you peel them like they do with regular oranges 🙂

    Happy holidays to you and your family, and happy peeling!

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