Lent always leaves me feeling like a wrung-out rag, worn very thin. I have a post somewhere about how this may well be deliberate; today, however, it’s an excuse for lateness.
What feelings does this word evoke? What sorts of memories does it recall? Which of your senses start to tingle? How would you represent what this word means to you?
This feels like a particularly un-Lenten word. In fact, I am led back to Shrove Tuesday, squeezing tangerines to make crêpes suzettes. Tangerine juice is a lovely vivid orange colour, in a way that plain orange juice isn’t, and very sweet and very sharp all at the same time.
Which reminds me in turn: my uncle gave me the most fantastic lemon squeezer for Christmas: pottery, with a cup underneath to catch the juice, and painted in a bold pattern of black and orange and blue. It has, though I’m not sure why, something of a sombrero feel to it. I love it. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I would like to have more kitchen utensils like that.
What else is juicy? A juicy steak, juicy gossip. I have gone vegetarian for Lent. (Oh, but I could tell you about the bacon sandwich I am going to have on Easter morning: it will have thick bacon, lots of it, with a rind to it; white crusty bread cut like doorsteps; butter; and brown sauce.) Juicy gossip: well, one always wants to know. It’s a horrible feeling, being out of the loop. But not always good for one. Actually, I’d like to do away with the word gossip; it’s one of those weaselly irregular nouns. I take an interest in my peers’ lives. You want to know what’s going on. She gossips.
The alarming concoctions one of my colleagues makes; the last one she brought in was bright Kermit green and contained (so far as I can remember) kale, kiwi, apple juice and grapes.
We never had much fruit juice when I was little; it was mostly squash. Pa got tomato juice sometimes, though, and I liked that, with a slug of Lea & Perrins. I remember him seeing if he could make it by putting tinned tomatoes through the blender, and it wasn’t the same. I think there can’t have been enough salt in it.
We did have fruit, though, apples and raspberries, and, at Christmas, little citrus fruit. I still do this sometimes: removing the membrane from a clementine segment, very carefully, to leave all those tiny glistening cells holding together and, working from one end, nibbling them off and eating them one at a time. I get bored after about a centimetre, of course, and put the rest in in one go, but it’s very satisfying up to that point.
Juicy: it feels extravagant. Luxurious. Decadent. Not for the likes of us. Except for when I feel like it.