Blogging from A to Z Theme: Bringing Me Joy
Coming home from work late, tired and hungry, I opened the fridge to see what I could see. Two slices of leftover eggplant pizza—not bad. But pizza, at this time of night? Then my eyes alighted upon a little tub of cut-up lemon wedges and I perked right up. Forget pizza—this was just what the doctor ordered.
I always keep a bag of organic lemons or limes in the fridge. Just knowing they’re there makes me happy. On a swelteringly hot day, a tall glass of nimbu-pani, just water with lemon juice squeezed into it, is the best thirst-quencher there is. We squeeze lemon juice on everything, though: on fish, of course, and on salad, a simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil beats just about any other.
When I came to the United States I couldn’t understand why lemons seemed to have such a bad rap. When a newly-bought car is defective, it’s called a lemon; when life gives you lemons, I was instructed, make lemonade. Well of course, I thought; until I understood that it meant one should make the best of a bad situation.
It is understood, in the U.S., that the lemonade one makes from life’s lemons must be sweet; sickly-sweet, in my book. Somehow, among Indians, who certainly can’t be accused of not having a sweet tooth, there is a greater fondness for savory, sour and bitter-tasting foods. This seems to be particularly the case for women, and even more so for pre-teen girls, who crave green mango sprinkled with chili, salt, and lime juice.
The lemons in the fridge at the moment are delicious Meyer lemons—my dear mother-in-law Anna’s favorite. Back when they lived in San Diego, one of her friends had a Meyer lemon tree whose fruit just ripened and fell to the ground unused. Anna couldn’t bear to see that, of course, so she asked her friend if she could pick them. One day we received a large parcel from California. In it were dates, figs, and a big bag of Meyer lemons; what a treat!
Standing in the kitchen I ate the lemon right down to the skin. Remembering how, as kids, we used to make orange-wedge smiles, I noticed that at ten in the evening, after a long workday, there was a broad grin on my face. Lemons and limes bring me joy.
By the way, I did go right on to eat the leftover pizza as well.