Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hospitality???


There's nothing I hate more than checking into a hotel I frequent as a business or personal guest to no amenities.  I like to know that loyalty is honored rather than familiarity breeding contempt.  A note, a flower arrangement, cookies for kids - all are greeted with great enthusiasm.  Fruit plates, on the other hand, can be a mixed bag.  Consider the grapefruit, for instance.  A grapefruit, in my mind, is perfect for squeezing fresh juice.  It may also be useful when sliced into supremes and put in a salad.  Less oft, though certainly admired, is the grapefruit halved and sectioned at the breakfast table.  But rarely, rarely does one think of the grapefruit as a delicious option for a fruit bowl.  Unlike the handy apple, the grapefruit cannot be picked up and walked away with.  Its peel is unwieldy, often thick and overly pithy.  Unlike the banana, the grapefruit has massive seeds one can't carry as one piece and deposit politely into nearby rubbish.  And unlike the fruit-bowl friendly grape, a grapefruit is drippy and messy even after peeled and pithed.  So why, I wonder, do hotels bother to put such a daunting fruit in a basket meant to serve as hospitality?  Well, is has great volume, I suppose.  It might take two apples, a trio of apricots and at least two dozen grapes to fill the space taken by one juicy grapefruit.  And unlike its soft-skinned cousins, the mighty citrus lasts (or at least gives the appearance of lasting) a good long time.  No mushy edges, no spoilt centers - the grapefruit can go on for weeks looking fresh as the day it was picked.

So a fruitbowl, I imagine, stands for hospitality in the modern age. Long gone are the days of truly personal touches - a favorite cookie or preferred flower.  To be honest, I'd even prefer a fresh fig or apricot or representation of anything seasonal in its stead.  But grapefruit we get and so grapefruit, it seems, we shall endure...

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