A Few Thoughts On Orange Juice and Education

We have been especially privileged to have spent extended periods of time in places with exceptional citrus fruits during our travels. After leaving Japan, we spent our first three months in Sicily (a.k.a. The Land of Lemons), where I attended the most unbelievable cooking school program imaginable. On arrival in our new Italian home, we were greeted with this lovely basket filled with freshly-picked grapefruits and several sustainable varieties of lemons and oranges native to the island.

The most wonderful welcome basket on a cold winter morning!

Later that year, we lived on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where we practically gorged ourselves on loads of lovely limes. We drank limonada almost daily, in addition to liberally squeezing liters of the pale green juice into our salsas and guacamole.

Squeezing lime juice over the avocados to finish our daily dose of guac.

We even spent a month on a lime orchard in Australia, where we had a peek at the ins and outs of growing and caring for the trees, picking, and packing that puckery green fruit. And, yes, we did make some key lime pie, too!

Our Little Sous picks limes on an orchard in Queensland.

Recently, we were back in the United States, visiting friends and family in Southern California, where we were blessed to spend several weeks directly across the street from the most fragrant orange grove imaginable! We jogged across the road daily–sometimes, even twice a day–in order to pick bags full of perfectly-ripe Valencias for juicing and zesting to accentuating the richness in our favorite cinnamon rolls and chocolate cake!

Three different blends of freshly-squeezed orange juice to wash down our homemade cinnamon rolls.

Despite all this incredible abundance, people constantly ask us The Big WHY. Why would we do all this? Why food? Why would we take our child out of a school that we founded to wander all over the world? What do we hope to accomplish with all our travels? How do we plan to make sure he still gets a decent education?

Gulping down a golden glass of Sicilian sunshine.

We are so excited that our child knows where orange juice comes from, and that he understands the process by which the best that represents the beverage is produced. He was able to learn that best by actually squeezing the juice with his own little hands. And he learned even more by exploring the citrus garden with his insatiable CURIOSITY. He FEARLESSLY embracing the opportunity to climb the trees, pick the fruit himself, sample a few different varieties, and PLAY with the combinations of mixtures and concentrations to blend a beverage that suited him.

THIS embodies the essence of our desires for our son’s global education. As we roam the planet, we want him to SEE a new reality each and every day of his life. We want him to experience the fact that he has the potential to satisfy his boundless CURIOSITY because LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND EVERYWHERE!

We want him to HEAR all manner of languages and dialects, accents and vocabulary, that he might come to see potential friends in the people we encounter. We want him to communicate confidently with them, to initiate and develop meaningful and lasting relationships wherever we go.

We want him to SMELL the local herbs and spices and produce when we land in a new-to-us spot, that he can begin to imagine the infinite combinations with which we might explore it all in our kitchens. We want him to catch more than just a whiff of the salty ocean air on the coasts. We want him to breathe deeply of the aromatic flora of the bush and the rain forests. We want him to slow down and sniff out all the sensory stimulation in every new place we set out to explore, searing the scents deep into his olfactory cortex for later retrieval.

Burning rosemary sprigs fresh from the garden to garnish a dish.

We want him to TOUCH the grasses and trees and even the animals as we make our temporary home on a new continent. We want him caress feathers and fur, to rub the bumpy and brilliant CURIOSITIES upon which we stumble in the farmer’s markets, to hold the heft of a new harvest in his outstretched arms. We want him to know that a life of unimagined possibilities is truly his for the taking; all he need do is reach out and grab it with both hands!

And, of course, we want him to TASTE the myriad flavors that characterize each little nook and cranny in every corner of the globe! We want him to FEARLESSLY sample goulash in Hungary, frankfurters in Frankfurt, and clam chowder in New England–and Manhattan, too! We want him to know that there’s something special to seek out, all the world over. We want him to treasure each tart and tangy tidbit that touches his tongue. We want to encourage him to savor the sweetness that each blessed new day brings, and to honor the sacred blessing that is LIFE.

Taking a big, juicy bite outta life!

Just like oranges and their juice, we’re learning to appreciate the variety of colors, aromas, textures, and flavors a global education can encompass. We’re excited for the journey ahead and hope you’ll join us on the journey here at Our Kitchen Classroom, putting your special spin on it in your kitchen classroom, wherever in the world that may be!

Now, you don’t have to have a huge organic citrus orchard in your backyard. But, you can grab some oranges and give ’em a squeeze. Go ahead, get out a big glass! Looking for a recipe? Sorry! Only the simplest of instructions today: grab some oranges (and/or any other citrus fruit of your choosing), juice, and enjoy! Challenge: how many new-to-you varieties can you find? What did you discover,  and how did it taste? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

Are you one of those special people who completely understands our WHY, and wants to know HOW?
Come PLAY with us over in our brand new online group!!!

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