Jessica Gross

The Ugli

In musings on April 25, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Last weekend, a friend and I decided we’d get economical and cook ourselves dinner. We wandered around the Food Emporium near her apartment, throwing vegetables into our basket to stir-fry: peppers, onions, mushrooms, bok choy, eggplant…

It was on our hunt for a dessert mango that we spotted it: the ugli fruit. Pronunciation: “ugly.” Yes, actually. And it is hideous.

I was enthralled. I took the thing — which resembles a rotten, green orange the size of a baby’s face — in my hands. I held it to my chest. I deemed it my boyfriend. We eschewed the mango in favor of this rare, gleaming find. As we cooked, as we ate the stir fry, I burst into laughter over and over as I remembered the ugli in our possession.

But then we ate my boyfriend, and let me tell you: it was not good. If it looked like an orange’s neglected sibling, it tasted worse — in fact, it had no taste.

Nonetheless, I continued my fondness for the ugli, which was now a pile of (probably genetically-engineered) citrus in my belly. Poking around online, I discovered, to my delight, that the ugli has its own website! Apparently, “Ugli” is a trademark for the fruit, which is not an orange, but a Jamaican-grown tangelo. Best line on the website:

When buying the UGLI® brand of tangelos do not be misled by their appearance, you will love their sweet and tangy flavour.

“The Affliction is only Skin Deep so the Beauty is in the Eating“™

Amazing. But, according to Wikipedia, the thing is called “ugli” precisely because it looks so deformed: “Its name derives from the unsightly appearance of its rough, wrinkled, greenish-yellow skin, wrapped loosely around the orange pulpy citrus inside.” Now if loosely-wrapped skin isn’t appetizing, I don’t know what is.


To Boston’s Rescue

In quotables on April 8, 2009 at 2:56 pm

As I’d hoped, several commenters came to Boston’s defense after my post ripping into the city. A few choice excerpts, below.

From Mike:

My roommate just came back from Boston and she loved it — the history, the lobster rolls, [and] the Revolutionary War-era ship she got to pretend to be a wench on.

From Dez:

Education central, the best hospitals, a place for entrepeneurship to rest its head.

And from Ranjani:

Lots going on, culture, restaurants, nightlife, new people (and so many in our age group), etc. — but it’s smaller and more manageable than certain other cities.

Have your own reasons? Comment.

Subway Fail

In people watching on April 2, 2009 at 10:42 am

I never mastered the art of reading a newspaper on the train. I’ve mastered the fold — I can get the thing down to a sliver — but it’s the opening, the folding of the front page to access page two, that stumps me.

Today, as I tried to make that first fold, my arms got carried away, as if they were commanded by a different brain. I nearly punched the man seated next to me in the face. He flinched, withdrawing from my newsweapon.

“Sorry!” I squawked. He smiled; all was well.

But I was embarrassed. Real New Yorkers can read the newspaper on the subway. As I got off, I apologized again.

“No worries,” he said. “It was funny.”

“I have depth perception problems,” I said.

Depth perception problems?

Bottom line: I need to practice the first-page fold. Maybe even in front of a mirror. (And never say “depth perception problems” again.)