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Grapefruit and problem solving

how to eat grapefruit

I enjoy eating grapefruit. This might put me in the minority; I understand that many folks out there believe that grapefruit tastes like the touching your tongue to the terminals of a nine-volt battery. (If you fall into that camp, read on…this post may be useful to you in some other way). But for me, this softball-sized fruit is refreshing and delicious.

Eating grapefruit has always been a no-brainer for me. Figuring out HOW to eat grapefruit, on the other hand…that’s where it gets tricky. You can’t bite into it like an apple, and it doesn’t easily peel like a banana (side note: if you’ve never peeled a banana from the non-stem end, try it). Grapefruit also claims the rare honor of having its own utensil—the saw-inspired grapefruit spoon, with its narrow bowl and serrated edges.

For years, I sliced grapefruit in half and used some combination of a knife and grapefruit spoon to dig out the edible parts (which I believe are called the fruit’s “flesh”—that weirds me out a bit, so I won’t use the term here). I figured that somewhere along the way, mankind had collectively solved the “how to eat grapefruit” problem with the grapefruit spoon.  And who was I to question that?

Fortunately for me, my mom and dad are fruit visionaries. At some point a few years ago, we were having dinner at their house and they served a fruit tray containing, among other things, piles of grapefruit. However, they didn’t serve them up in halves with a grapefruit spoon, a knife, a bib, and a grim “good luck, son” pat on the back. No, these were beautiful, clean segments of edible grapefruit blessedly devoid of any peel. Grapefruit in the raw.  Grapefruit unchained. It was delicious and so incredibly easy to enjoy…as simple as eating slices of an apple.

This prompted me, of course, to ask, “How in the world did this happen?  Wasn’t it a lot of trouble?  How did you convince your grapefruit to cooperate?” Their answer (which in hindsight seems so incredibly obvious): “We peel our grapefruit. It’s a lot easier that way.”

And it turns out they’re right. If you’re wondering how to eat grapefruit in a way that minimizes stress, mess, and wasted time, just score the peel with a knife or citrus peeler. Then peel that bad boy like it’s an overgrown orange, separate the segments of fruit, and enjoy.

Since that revelation, my consumption of grapefruit has increased dramatically. And my use of the grapefruit spoon, that abomination of a kitchen utensil, has entirely ended. I keep it around the kitchen, though, as a reminder of my youthful ignorance. And just in case someone ever barges into my house and offers to give me a million dollars if I’m able to saw through a shoestring with any spoon in my utensil drawer.

I said that this post might be useful to you grapefruit-haters, so here’s where I’m going to try to deliver on that promise. Instead of thinking only in terms of how to eat grapefruit, apply this story to any sort of problem or challenge you’re facing at work or at home. Are you blindly trusting that the solution everyone else is applying is the right one? Is it possible that some new piece of technology (e.g.—the grapefruit spoon) is actually hindering your efficiency? And are there wise people outside of your usual brain trust who might just help you solve a problem with an approach you hadn’t previously considered?

As always, I love helping business and non-profits solve problems—contact me to get started!