How to Peel an Orange (or Grapefruit) Lickity Split

oranges navel mary

When I was nine years old, my grandmother took her daughter, Rachelle, my cousin, Carol, and me on an airplane trip to Arizona to visit relatives. It was my first plane ride. We flew from Boston to Phoenix on TWA, “Traveling With Angels” I would tell everyone with a proud grin on my face. The flight was memorable for many reasons; chief among them were the perfectly coiffed  stewardesses who told us we could write all the letters we wanted, and they would send them for us via “Air Mail.”  That struck me as nothing short of amazing. They lavished us with decks of cards, airplane pins, books, and meals so noteworthy, my cousin and I both wrote to my mother to tell her what was served for lunch: steak, carrots, peppers, onions, rice with gravy, a salad with French dressing, a choice of milk or Coke, and a piece of apple pie.

TWA navel orange

What do I remember about Phoenix? Navel Mary. “Navel Mary” is the name we girls gave to our Great Aunt Louise’s next-door neighbor. Naval Mary had a grove of navel orange trees in her backyard. We visited every day. She taught us how to cut oranges, lickety-split. She probably could cut five of them in under a minute. Obviously, it made a big impression on me because here I am, fifty years later, writing about it. To this day, when my cousins and I talk about that trip, one of us will say, “Remember Navel Mary?”

How to cut an orange the Naval Mary, way:
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Works for grapefruits, too!

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And, for other citrus fruits!

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Related Story:
Grapefruit and Greens: A Refreshing Winter Salad

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