Nothing should be prized more highly than the value of each day.
-Johann von Goethe

From "Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor" by Sarah Ban Breathnach:

Did you know that in the beginning oranges blossomed only in the perfumed palaces of Far Eastern potentates? But even Chinese empresses, Arabian princes, and Indian maharajas reserved this rare, prized fruit for special occasions: love offerings.

The history of the orange is the stuff of great romance.

After gifts of gold, silk, and fragrance failed him, King Solomon seduced the Queen of Sheba with oranges. Queen Isabella gave royal orange tree cuttings to Columbus-a bonus for discovering a new world. The great seventeenth-century Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes found inspiration sampling them as he wrote his bittersweet romantic fantasy Don Quixote. And the nineteenth-century French painter Paul Cezanne was so besotted with oranges, he couldn't stop painting them.

A queen's ransom probably sits on your kitchen counter right now. But when was the last time you contemplated the sweet, succulent mysteries of the navel? Or a Valencia? In fact, oranges possess so much variety, flavor, and allure, the English food writer Brian Glover rightly observes, "One could almost imagine that if oranges were indeed the only fruit, the hardship wouldn't be so bad." Next time you can visit a large supermarket with a good produce section (organic grocery stores are my choice), wander the fruit aisle slowly. You're on a field trip in search of the marvelous in the mundane. Look for as many different citrus fruits of the orange family as you can find...spend a glorious half hour just exploring their individual mysteries of flavor and fragrance: mild mandarin oranges (from China), tangerines (from Tangier), clementines, satsumas, mineolas, pomelos, and blood oranges...

So consider the orange anew. And your own moments of imperishable bliss are only bites away.

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