Right now, the best way to cheer me up, the simplest way to bring a smile or get me moving is to bring me juice. Such a simple tonic: freshly squeezed grapefruit & orange juice (2/3 for optimum pleasure) and the world instantly looks a brighter place. A chopped up kiwi on the side and it’s bliss; dare i say it more so than chocolate?!
This juice obsession, because you could possibly call it that, is another one of those pregnancy things. Post 12 weeks the only water that has passed my lips has been the kind derived from the inner cells of fruits, or polluted with
coffee tea, diluted with whatever’s on hand or as a by-product of food. It sounds wrong to say diluted water, huh? But truly that’s what this is. Clear, unadulterated water is simply to thin, too texture-less to pass muster. A single sip makes me heave and the thought of drinking a full glass…but juice on the other hand.
Pregnancy eating is definitely trimeseteral (is that a word? It should be): The first, you eat whatever will stay down – even if it is just McDonalds milkshakes and fries; the second you just eat! Pints of yoghurt as your body screams for calcium, red meat in all forms as your iron levels drop and carbs to balance it all out. By the time the third trimester rolls round, you feel more in balance. You’re hungry but not ravenously so. Acid reflux aside, your stomach feels settled and your mind knows your body needs to be in shape for the marathon soon to come. Meals become balanced again and, as the weight gain has by this time started to freak you out, you less and less crave those naughty between-meal-snacks. But still there’ll be something. One thing that colours the fridge for weeks on end, and right now it’s juice. Orange and grapefruit, with a kiwi on the side.
There’s a greengrocer round the corner from our new home. A small place, unassuming and if I’m honest with not the best quality fruits available, but it’s close, is open all hours, and I always feel a soft spot for the people who run these mini shops. Sadly, just like in the UK lots of small greengrocer are being run out of business by the larger supermarkets whose presence is increasing with alarming speed. Unlike the Uk however, local manavcis (greengrocer) don’t have the option of charging premium rates as a consequence. They can’t cash in on the local, homegrown roots of their beets or the organic nature of the watercress. Sure, they can up their prices a little – they have to as customers dwindle, but premium prices elude them and inevitably produce sits for a day or two longer than it perhaps should, waiting for locals to pop in for the lemons they forgot at the supermarket down the road.
Most times I try to shop local. When in university, a seeming lifetime ago now, I staged a one-man protest against the invasion of supermarkets. A reaction in part to the book ‘Shopped’, Joanna Blythman, and in part due to the three supermarkets within a mile radius of my house! Keeping up the protest became an obsession of another kind; I’d walk miles across the city of Liverpool to reach the one remaining fishmonger, spend thirty minutes bargaining with the lone butchers to reduce the price so I could buy meat from them. now, when buying fresh and local is so easy, I remember those days and smile, and it was this quest to buy local, support smaller shops that started the current insatiable craving for juice. Our tiny neighbourhood greengrocer, where most fruit is past its best was selling grapefruits. Perfect grapefruits. Slightly more oval than round, yellow-tinged-with-pink and a mouth-watering citrusy, eye-screwingly sour scent!
We bought some – the greengrocer and G giving me their usual quizzical looks as I buy singularly , for the day rather than in kilos, for the week. We took them home and G took over his role as prize juice maker, squeezing every last drop from individual segments, balancing out the sourness with oranges and proving once again how wonderful it is to grow up eating like this; he’s a pro. The next day, I bought more. Just enough for the day. And it went on. It continues to go, the greengrocer continues to be puzzled by my buying process and the juice continues to please. And by default I’ve found the missing element; the piece de resistance for this simplest of pleasures; a kiwi. Chopped finely, eaten on the side inbetween sips. The perfect harmonial balance of sweet sour, citrus and fruit; comforting, invigorating bliss, one sip at a time.